The Black Watch – Brilliant Failures
The latest from John Andrew Frederick and his band should be seen as a bit of a departure from the normal pop fare we talk about here. Upon first listen, many of the songs contained within bring back memories of the post punk bands of the early 80’s.
Their sound can be described as cavernous at times, almost as if The Smiths were produced by Martin Hannett. That said, if one looks closely, one sees (or hears) a glimmer of light peeking through an otherwise dark veneer.
Case in point, the title track. “Brilliant Failures” is a catchy song with a positive underlying message. “There’s beauty in one’s each defeat. Without it life seems incomplete. The brilliant failures”. It’s one of the more interesting songs I’ve heard this year. The mostly acoustic “Hodophobia” features some of the more pleasing vocal harmonies on the album. Throughout the album, different elements are added from acoustic touches to keyboards to tweaks in vocal production so that one never becomes a passive listener.
The Black Watch certainly isn’t conventional and Brilliant Failures doesn’t fit neatly under the power pop umbrella. However, the songwriting is compelling, lyrically substantive and there’s a hook or three. Brilliant Failures will be available through A Turntable Friend Records on March 27. Give it a listen.