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The Watch - Primitive CD (album) cover


The Watch



3.49 | 134 ratings

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4 stars My introduction with this band dated back the time when their name was The Night Watch where the debut album was 'Twilight'. My first impression was that this band is truly a Genesis Gabriel era kind of music. I also enjoyed their previous album 'Vacuum' which was still consistent with their style. This latest album 'Primitive' is in similar vein with its predecessors. As The Watch composed their music with a style that is basically the same with Genesis Gabriel era, my reference point for enjoying the music is using Genesis Foxtrot, Selling England by The Pound, Trespass, Nursery Cryme, and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Of course I cannot compare The Watch directly with Genesis, the legendary band because the time zone is different and Genesis have changed their style of music once they released 'A Trick of The Tail'. That's something that I really can not put as reference. Why? Because the approach that The Watch has taken in their music making was basically based on two critical points: 1.) from the vocal perspective where the voice range and style of Simone Rosetti has been made 'closely' similar to Peter Gabriel; 2.) the mellotron-drenched composition.

Let's have a look on these two points.

Does Simone voice matches Gabriel?

I can say straight to the point: no. Why? Because this is Allah swt (God) given talent that is very specific, very peculiar to an individual characteristic. There is no such voice that is the same. That's why Allah swt is GREAT. There is no true greatness in the whole universe than those coming from Allah swt. That's why whenever a lead vocal job of particular band leave, it's very difficult to find replacement. Look at Queen who has been struggling to find the best vocalist that matches Mercury. It's a tough job and it could be a never ending task.

However, Simone has tried his best to emulate what Gabriel has done in terms of timbre and pitch of his voice. He has done an excellent job on this because he emulates quite well eevn though not truly similar. One thing that Simone can emulate is the combined pitches representing high and low register notes that demands accentuation like Gabriel sung 'Can Utility and The Coastliners' or 'Supper's Ready'. Simone singing tends to be flat throughout a song with minimum high and low register notes, and there barely no accentuation.

Does the mellotron sound makes it Genesis, really?

If you talk Genesis in 'Watcher of The Sky' term, I can assure you the answer is Yes. The problem is, not all Genesis Gabriel era are like 'Watcher' in style. The whole album of 'Primitive' have been composed with 'Watcher' style. What are the characteristic of Watcher, anyway? It relies heavily on mellotron as main rhythm section of the music. Well, you may say that there is another thing with Watcher, i.e. the dynamic bass-playing by Mike Rutherford. This bass-playing style here are not available with The Watch.

All songs in this album are heavily dominated by mellotron sounds that I can feel getting bored when it reaches the half portion of the CD. But for those of you who love the sound of mellotron, well yeah .. this is for you! In fact, I heard that the mellotron used by The Watch is the one made in seventies. That's why you can find the vintage prog sound here.

One thing I notice here is the lacking use of Hackettian guitar style especially the 'howling' guitar solo. It seems like Ettori Salati does not dare to play guitar solo or the composition does not allow the guitar solo takes its part. This is one thing that lacks also in neo-prog music because usually guitar solo takes larger portion as the case with keyboard. So, do not expect the catchy interlude in 'Firth of Fifth' is happening here ? you won't get it!

So, where do I stand with this album?

I still consider the music is excellent, despite all of my above comments. Why? It's simple? because I have been emotionally attached to the kind of music Genesis played during the Gabriel era. I grew up with 'Nursery Cryme', 'Foxtrot', 'Selling England by The Pound' .. so it's hard for me to deny that I do love this kind of music. But I am not in a position to compare with Genesis Gabriel era. Maybe .. maybe .. if Genesis still alive with Gabriel as front-man, this kind of music is what they make without Steve Hackett. I do enjoy this album more than I enjoy Unifaun.

My best track from this album is the third one 'Two Paces to the Rear' (9:08) which to me this song is structurally similar with Genesis 'Firth of Fifth' without classical notes at intro played by Tony Bank's grand piano. Another without is the catchy interlude using flute, keyboard and guitar solo. So, if you take Seconds Out version of 'Firth of Fifth' you can hear this song by The Watch is quite similar structurally and style-wise. I don't say that The Watch is doing plagiarism because it's different, notes-wise. That's why I really enjoy this track despite the lacking of grand piano and catchy interlude.

Other tracks are excellent as well. I can hear something that reminds me to Kayak "Anne" when I heard the intro part of fourth track 'When I was a Tree' (6:00). Not a big deal, just the keyboard intro that is similar. I also here the keyboard sound of Genesis' 'The Fountain of Salmacis'. Overall, this album is recommended for those who like symphonic music with mellotron-drenched compositions. This album is consistent with their previous music style in 'Vacuum' album. My suggestion for the band for their future releases are not to focus only on mellotron and organ with long sustain style but they also explores guitar solo, which is currently sounds like a burden. Also, they need to explore keyboard solo like those that Genesis played in 'In The Cage' or 'Riding The Scree'. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild ? GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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