The Black Watch
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||The Tennis-Play Poet Roethke Said||The Black Watch||3:39||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Alice In Lotusland||The Black Watch||4:04||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Lovestruck||The Black Watch||3:35||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Bathyscope to Astronaut||The Black Watch||3:43||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||What's the Color of Happiness?||The Black Watch||3:38||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Dear Abby||The Black Watch||4:15||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Here Today||The Black Watch||2:56||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Come Tomorrow?||The Black Watch||4:36||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Everything Is Just a Scam||The Black Watch||3:08||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Persephone Achieves||The Black Watch||3:29||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Mr. Ordinary Man||The Black Watch||3:42||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Westminster||The Black Watch||3:43||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||To William, My Father, Who Brought Home Books On India (Doot Doot Mix)||The Black Watch||3:14||$0.99||View in iTunes|
Few groups make their best album by far 15 years and seven albums into their career. Then again, perhaps one shouldn't be surprised with L.A.'s the Black Watch, as they've been continually improving all that time. Having thought they'd hit their peak with The King of Good Intentions, it's still a pleasant shock to find this wonderful, breezy pop LP, with such poetic words; warm production; intelligent, catchy songs; and such a surfeit of influences to be a watershed. The mix of John Andrew Fredrick's songwriting and guitar playing and J'Anna Jacoby's beguiling, endlessly creative violin and second-guitar playing has always been a strong one, but Fredrick's never put his pen to better use than on this LP. Where do the raves begin? Why not with the literate debauchery of "The Tennis-Playing Poet Roethke Said": devilishly catchy, clever, and erudite like the Smiths; a floor-tom-smacking last-minute coda that's the dessert; and a call and response between the ringing electric guitar and its encircling, capturing violin? Or how about that "Ticket to Ride"/"Eight Miles High," ending on "What Is the Color of Happiness," with their Brit friend Pat Fish (Jazz Butcher) on lead vocals? What about the more sinister shake-and-shimmy of the Lewis Carroll-referencing "Alice in Lotusland" and "Dear Abbey"? Or the more direct, sunny pop of "Here Today" and "Lovestruck"? Or the "Soon"-like (My Bloody Valentine) damaged-guitar dance-pop of "Come Tomorrow"? Whatever you pick, you revel in the words (why aren't there more English professors who love rock & roll songwriters, like Fredrick?), Fredrick and Tim Boland's supreme production, the droll singing, the saucy blend of styles, the super-crisp songs, and the lovely passages that abound throughout. You want craft, heart, brains, hooks, warmth, and pop that sticks to the ribs? You want this.
I killed a whole day listening to this band after discovering then on itunes. If you're looking to discover something new and beautiful you will not be disappointed.
Formed: 1987 in Santa Barbara, CA
Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s