January 2015 National Music Reviews

Review: The Black Watch – Sugarplum Fairy, Sugarplum Fairy

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The Black Watch
Sugarplum Fairy, Sugarplum Fairy
Pop Culture Press
Street: 01.27
The Black Watch = Billy Bragg + Built to Spill + Tears for Fears

For their impressive 18th release, the LA-based indie group The Black Watch put together a collection of earnest songs that seem to both expand and contain the audible emotional complexity of their primary songwriter, John Andrew Frederick. The album title is a nod an outtake gem found in The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life,” and the record as a whole seems to convey the same tired sentiment of Lennon’s line, “I read the news today, oh boy.” However, the album plays much more like British new wave. Songs like “Scream” and “Quietly Now” surprise the usual tone of melancholy verses into shoegaze jamming with heavy drum lines. Although this band still belongs to the spirit of ’90s indie rock, there’s a satisfying sincerity in Frederick’s lyrics and presentation. If any of these descriptions interest you, keep this album around for the days when you’re feeling moody. –Nic Smith

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