Locals: Damn the Witch Siren embraces childhood imagination on Back to Dreaming

Andy Downing, Columbus Alive

Back to Dreaming, the new album from shape-shifting electro-pop duo Damn the Witch Siren, kicks off with the sound of a fluttering string section - a gorgeous introduction that comes on like the opening theme to some Disney fairytale.

It's fitting, then, that the song, "Fantasy," arrives littered with details that could have been spawned by repeat viewings of those animated classics, frontwoman Bobbi Kitten daydreaming of life as a princess posted up in some exotic seaside castle.

Over the course of the album's dozen tracks, however, these dreams begin to erode under the weight of grownup pressures. "You used to laugh all the time/ You used to be young and free," Kitten sings on the shimmering, soft-edged "Escape to Nowhere." "You used to have the world figured out/ Now it doesn't come so easily."

"When I was growing up people would always say, 'Once you get out into the real world,' and I always thought that was so silly," said Kitten, who joined bandmate Z Wolf for a mid-October interview at their home studio in Marion (the two will regroup in Columbus for a record release show at Skully's Music-Diner on Saturday, Oct. 24). "I still feel young and free, but it's about being around people who try to ground you. We're singing that you don't have to feel so entrapped in your adult life, or by the real world."

This theme surfaces most directly on the album-closing title track, a low-key, largely acoustic cut that stands as the most stripped-down song in the band's catalog, akin to viewing a cyborg absent its metallic exoskeleton. Here, Kitten sings of getting "back to the ocean" and again embracing the imaginative spirit many outgrow along with child-sized clothing.

"We've both had so many interactions with people like that - people that seem to exist just to tear things down and be negative and miserable. It's like a disease they're spreading," said Wolf, who credited the quiet Marion locale with the comparatively peaceful vibe that bled into the recordings ("There's just a certain sense of Zen being here.") "We've met so many people on the other end of things that are so inspiring and full of life and excited about things, and those are the kinds of people we're trying to surround ourselves with."

Skully's Music-Diner

8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24

1151 N. High St., Short North


ALSO PLAYING: Hank & Cupcakes, The Receiver, Wolfman & the Airship Captain