Each decade has its musical geniuses. These musicians are separated from the other musicians of their time, however, because their style is truly timeless. This ironic criterion is easily recognizable in bands like The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and The Cure. Any musician who draws from these groups, though they perform in a different era, takes the first step in musical relevancy. The Black Watch is one band that’s taken this cue.
The band was first formed in 1987 in Santa Barbara, California. The lineup has changed greatly since their formation, but founder John Andrew Fredrick has been a member from the beginning. The band now consists of Fredrick, Steven Schayer, Rick Woodard, and Chris Rackford.
The Black Watch has taken the strongest elements of ’80s music and made them relevant again. In fact, their latest album, Highs & Lows, is nothing short of musical genius. The album combines the band’s own unique style with strong influences from bands like The Cure and The Ramones. However, while the group may be influenced by these bands, The Black Watch’s ultimate style is something entirely their own.
The album starts off with “Beautiful Sleeper,” a bittersweet acoustic song. It’s followed by “Quondam Redhead,” which makes an interesting transformation from energetic grunge to a psychedelic soundscape about halfway through the track. “Pershing Harvard Way” is where the ’80s punk influence is most obvious, combining the energy of The Ramones with the emotion of The Cure. There’s also the special touch added by The Black Watch itself, which can’t be described by using comparisons to other bands. “If Upon a Time That Never Happened” is a truly unique piece, particularly for its orchestral, grandiose ending.
The Black Watch proves to be a one-of-a-kind listening experience. There’s only so much a writer can say without readers taking a listen for themselves. One last thing can be said, though: The Black Watch takes everything that the ’80s got right in music and revives it, in new and unique ways. The result is something truly amazing.
Learn more about The Black Watch and listen to some of their work here.