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THE BLACK WATCH – The Hypnotizing Sea (Pink Hedgehog)

Posted: February 7th, 2006, by Dave Stockwell

I would hope that anyone who listens to music a lot must fantasise about playing God and getting bands to tweak their sound so that it is even more musically satisfying to their ears. It’s what I do all the time anyway. And it’s rare that I come across a band that has a sound that I would consider perfect. The only two that spring to my mind right now are Neu! and Shellac, for hugely contrasting reasons. But anyway.

The first ten seconds of this CD got me into a real lather – someone was making some guitar vomit something akin to those amazing seasick sounds Kevin Shields coaxed out on “Isn’t Anything”, and it looked like they were going to harness them to make some great vague indie pop in the process. Unfortunately, from then on the proceedings became increasingly staid, with more ‘proper indie’ songwriting and sounds dominating. Aside from the occasional interesting textural flourish, Black Watch otherwise only mark themselves out as a very competent band playing some competent songs that are unfortunately bereft of any real melodic or catchy hooks to really catch your attention. And those flourishes diminish as the album goes on and on, getting duller as it gets increasingly singer-songwritery. It’s a shame because those blurry guitars are ultimately filler on a few tracks, disappointingly underutilised – normally to underline a part already played by another guitar in an altogether less interesting fashion. The whole thing just seems a little unambitious after a very promising start.

My personal advice would be: Pile on the effects, and get some hooks going on. Then the Black Watch would really be onto something special and ears would really prick up. That’s not to say this band could be another My Bloody Valentine clone; there is obviously talent at work here, and they could give those guitars a whole new setting with some decent rhythmic drive and songwriting. It’s just my opinion. Black Watch are not there yet, and maybe they don’t even want to be. I just wish they would, so they could properly escape that horrible label of being Just Another Indie Band.


Dave Stockwell

David can always be relied on to end his e-mails with one of those 'np: blah blah' things in order to remind us of how much more music he listens to every day than anybody else. His interests include rockin ' out in a major style as guitarist in Souvaris, throwing frisbees from tall buildings "just to see what happens" and simply kickin' back with his bitches in a gold-plated jacuzzi.


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