Still shiny

Every once in a while I come across a band that has been around forever--which I've never come across before. You'd think writing about semi-obscure music for 25 years would pretty much scour the landscape. Not so. I don't believe I have ever come across the Black Watch, despite the fact that this outfit has been releasing albums since I was in college. I think I'd remember; this stuff is amazing.

The Black Watch
Highs & Lows
(Pop Culture Press)
Fitting nicely into the L.A. kinda-acoustic pop style of Smart Brown Handbag (a now-defunct former contemporary) and the like, the Black Watch cuts gem after gem as this album rolls along. The sequencing is spectacular, allowing the album to open quietly and then slowly unfold into greatness.

Intensely lovely stuff, with plenty of meat on the bones. I haven't heard an album this vibrant and finely crafted in some time. There's a part of me that wonders how such amazing fare could stay relatively hidden (from many more ears than just mine). And the other half of my brain elicits a wry smile at such naivete.

This is one of the rare albums that is immediately arresting on a visceral level, and yet it has more than enough intellectual heft to sustain a long-term affection as well. My blood is pumping even as my mind is racing. The rush is awesome.

One of the best things about uncovering a long-running treasure like the Black Watch is that I can go back and find out just what I missed. It's like falling in lust all over again. And again. Big smiles.

Jon Worley

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