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5 stars The Italian band The Watch are probably the per-eminent prog band to capture the classic Gabriel-era sound of Genesis. While the band tours (Why not Los Angeles) doing covers of Genesis tunes, they write original material that could easily have been lifted from Nursery Cryme. "Tracks From The Alps" is their latest. It includes all original compositions except their reinterpretation of "Going Out To Get You", a track from Genesis' debut album. If you like "the sound" The Watch will be indispensable. One of the best things about this band is that they enjoy bringing classic Genesis tracks from the archives out into the full light of day with amazing improvements. They did it on their last album Timeless with their wonderful renewal of "In the Wilderness" and "Let Us Now Make Love". On Tracks from the Alps, The Watch performs "Going Out to Get You". The powerful organ De Vittorio opens with sounds warmer than the piano Genesis used on its demo recording on the Genesis Archive 1967-75 box set. The mellotron and organ are simply mystifying as is the thunder Fabbri brings on drums. Rossetti doesn't have as much venom in his voice as Peter Gabriel, however those keyboards and the menacing guitar work from both Gabriel and Rossetti's guitars more than create the mood to match the power of this often overlooked track. "A.T.L.A.S." opens with crisp morning guitar and Simone Rossetti's classic Peter Gabriel-like vocals. "Devil's Bridge" is another powerful track with a message "The Cheating Mountain" may be the best track on the album "Going Out to Get You" a track from Genesis' debut album "On Your Own" opens with deep keys reminding some of the band's earlier material from Ghost or Vacuum "Once in a Lifetime" opens with Keyboard wind effects and soft electric guitar chords "The Last Mile" is the longest track on the album. It opens with strong classic lead electric guitar melodies and Rossetti singing. I consider them a guilty pleasure and have enjoyed all of their releases. There is only one small thing that I didn't like, after waiting for 3 years for a new album from "The Watch" they gave me only less then 38 minutes album, I would have waited 6 more month for some extra 30 minutes! Highly recommended. 5 stars again!
Report this review (#1136585)
Posted Monday, February 24, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is an excellent new effort from "The Watch". While not as "powerful" as "Vacuum", the group continues to develop their "Gabriel-era Genesis-like" sound which hints at what a Genesis of 2014 might sound like, but definitely unmistakably "The Watch". The track "On Your Own" has some haunting background melody I can't get enough of. The cover of "Going Out to Get You" somehow doesn't "fit" ... it's an excellent cover, don't get me wrong, it's just the vocals are as if Peter was the vocalist, Simone nails it SO good, while the rest of the CD, the vocals are more "Simone" ... The Watch "almost" needs to keep its own material separate from their Genesis covers, both are so good, yet, there seems to be some divergence happening. Their live concerts could very well be structured the same way, done as a set of covers and a set of original material. My only complaint about "Tracks from the Alps" is that, at 38 minutes, the CD seems just too short, and not enough Mellotron ... but a "must have" for Watch fans!
Report this review (#1140447)
Posted Sunday, March 2, 2014 | Review Permalink
1 stars I find this album impossible to listen to! They do not write songs!! More like a random selection of genesis sounds and progressions with no connecting melody. After the first few minutes i forget what came before it. Just when you think there is going to be a musical hook its gone and you're left without a melody. I wonder how they remember to play their music or if they ever replicate there songs more than once!! I love complicated music but without structure and melody there's nothing enjoyable. Genesis songs stay in your head, lyrics and melody flowing from theme to theme. The Watch do not!! They don't write songs!!
Report this review (#1140901)
Posted Monday, March 3, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'd felt that on Planet Earth? and Timeless that The Watch had begun, if you'd forgive the pun, to wind down. Their old school Peter Gabriel-era Genesis style was charming enough, but they were hitting diminishing returns with their songwriting process. I'm happy to report that their latest release, Tracks From the Alps, features a reinvigorated sound. With the lineup slightly tweaked with the inclusion of Mattia Rossetti as the new bassist, the band have also tightened up their sound, giving it a somewhat more modern atmosphere whilst retaining the techniques and motifs of classic Genesis and getting back to what they do best - presenting what the pastoral Genesis sound might have ended up like had Genesis themselves never abandoned it.
Report this review (#1154095)
Posted Wednesday, March 26, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Where I am is so familiar..."

I'm feeling very conflicted over The Watch, and especially their new album `Tracks from the Alps'. I'd briefly heard the band in the past, but this was the first album of theirs I decided to purchase, and I was very keen to explore their music. Knowing full-well the reputation of this Italian group for being devoted to carrying on in the same style of the classic vintage period of Genesis, I was prepared for little similarities here and there, like many of the Neo bands often do. What I didn't really expect, however, was a band almost merely re-using themes and lazy recreations in the manner of that band. The Watch even cover an early Genesis piece, `Going Out To Get You'. I'm sure some listeners of that beloved defining 70's band will be in rapture at the sheer thought of more music in the same manner. There's certainly plenty of musical talent on display here, but like the above mentioned quote that opens the album, I really wish the band displayed their own ideas more often.

It's disappointing that the band focuses on so many melodies and themes that are virtual recreations of the same ones Genesis offered back in the early 70's. But more annoying is that the tunes here jump around far too much, rarely waiting to extend and develop particular musical ideas, instead assembling a rapid-fire collection of brief passages that overlap. Some of the vocal melodies are bland and unmemorable as well, so much of your attention goes to the varied instrumentation. Despite singer Simone Rossetti frequently being compared to Peter Gabriel, I actually was reminded more of Bernado Lanzetti from Acqua Fragile, who fronted P.F.M for two albums in the mid Seventies. Simone's English is sometimes difficult to hear (I found him much easier to understand in earlier band The Night Watch), so eventually attention wanes, but you always have the instrumental passages to enjoy. I suggest listening on a good pair of headphones to really appreciate all the subtle touches the band has carefully placed in their compositions, and you can pay more attention to the words as well that way.

There is plenty that works very well throughout the album. Overall the lyrics are evocative and lavish with detail, full of drama and fascinating characters (I've yet to properly work out the concept so far, though). There's numerous lovely sections scattered throughout the disc. The `Stand, so still, so tall' passage that closes lead track `A.T.L.A.S' is superb, cloaked in Rossetti's glorious and striking Mellotron. The exciting and racing instrumental passage in the final minutes of `Devil's Bridge' is sublime as well. The ballistic Moog and organ frenzy in the middle of `The Cheating Mountain' is very joyous. Over gently blowing winds, `Once In A Lifetime' has a creeping tip-toeing sadness before adopting a blustery fanfare and regal pomp. Giorgio Gabriel gets a cracking electric guitar run during `The Last Mile', which also delivers a passage full of searing Mellotron over dreamy vocals that is allowed time to properly develop. Despite a few eerie synth moments and some marching drumming, `On Your Own' recalls the pleasant and more straight-forward adult rock of Jadis, and I like this one more because Simone slows down and gives a more relaxed performance, and it's also one of the few tracks on the album that feels like a complete piece, as opposed to little bits seemingly strung together.

I know The Watch also masquerades as a Genesis cover band, but with all the wonderful instrumental skills on offer, as well as Simone Rossetti's rich and vivid lyrics and commanding voice, I really think the band are holding themselves back with such a slavish devotion to Genesis. As much as we all love that band and their pioneering sound, many Neo prog bands (frequently - and unfairly - dismissed as desperate and pathetic worshippers of that classic prog band), such as Arena, Pendragon, Marillion and I.Q all found their own distinctive style, so I really hope The Watch challenge themselves and their followers with something proudly their own sometime soon. Maybe next time?

Three stars - but anyone who doesn't mind a simple `more-of-the-same' Genesis band with no attempts at being truly progressive, add a whole extra star. It's definitely easy to listen to, by no means a bad album, and I'm sure those listeners will absolutely adore `Tracks from the Alps'.

Report this review (#1174777)
Posted Tuesday, May 13, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars If old groups don't do that anymore, somebody supposed to do it...

Let everyone ask yourself: How I would rate this album, if it could be Genesis reunion one? People already would peeing with boiling liquid... But, when it done by The Watch, it's no good. Come on, guys, the goal was to extend Genesis catalog and band is doing it with Retro-Prog of highest caliber - every album, piece by piece. What's wrong with that? It's hard mission, as all the time they must to compete with Golden Greats. However, instead off to support the group, we very quick on unfair criticism a wrong judgment. One more time: it's Retro Prog (sub-genre) and it's inappropriate to claim lack of originality here.

About cover song "Going Out to Get You". Sometimes (seldom) covers beat the original or equally good and give us as much pleasure. But this one is the case. As a real actor Simone Rossetti completely reincarnates into Peter Gabriel and give us performance equal only to Live Genesis one and surpass studio version. Those Live versions are rare and bad sounding ones. So he awarded us with excellent and good sounding studio version. What's wrong with that?

Some people complained that album is too short (38min). I know what you mean, guys, it would be nice to have one more Supper's Ready like piece here... You know what, guys, I am thankful and for that. It could be worse - album full of fillers or nothing at all. Please give me 38 min more of Vintage Genesis in Digipak, I'll buy it without hesitation. It will stay on my shelf after Peter Gabriel solo albums alongside with Shaun Guerin (RIP), Agents of Mercy and Unifaun.

5 Vintage Stars from the Book of Genesis.

Report this review (#1212694)
Posted Saturday, July 12, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars It hasn't been so many good records yet this year, but perhaps I have just listened to the wrong or too few albums. I continue with the genre Neo-prog, a genre I have had very hard to understand. This record though was totally different. Neo-prog in my opinion use to be too loud and also too mediocre, but not this one. "The Watch" is an Italian band led by Simone Rossetti. Noone could avoid hearing that "The Watch" are ispired by Genesis. Perhaps more than just inspired. They seem to keep up the spirit of Genesis' song making and musical world. I am of course talking about early Genesis. "Tracks from the alps" is the band's sixth record and it features Giorgio Gabriel on guitars, both usual and bass, Simone Rossetti on vocals, mellotron, synthesizers and flute, Valerio de Vittorio on keyboards, organ and synthesizer, Marco Fabbri on drums and percussion and Mattia Rossetti on bass guitar and pedals. It was released a half year ago and I am the seventh reviewer.

It is ashort but lovely album which you will listen to with a big smile on your face. It sounds familiar for fans of Genesis but this is of course another, very good band. It contains beautiful melodies, an emotional singstyle and a musical wave of carressing tones. Every song, they are seven, are good but I think some stand out particularly. My favourite is "The Cheating Mountain" which is so lovely and joyful(10/10). The album is full of exuberant melodies such as "Devil's bridge"(9/10) or "Once in a lifetime"(9/10). The average standard is very high and there are no bad tracks even if I of course don't like every minute as much as another one. Rossetti's voice is similar to Peter Gabriel but you hear it's not the same. A little bit of an Italian accent could be heard and that is great. i should be even happier and perhaps given them five stars if they had sung in Italian. Finally I am glad to see that music such this is made even in these pale and modern days. Music was better long time ago but there are glimpses of glory yet. There is hope for humanity.

Report this review (#1286368)
Posted Wednesday, October 1, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars "The Watch" are experts at what they do, that is, bring back the sounds of early Genesis. Now on this latest album they blend that sound with more of their own. It is a very nice album to listen to. Don't get caught up in the Gabriel voice it is just really great singing. I think Prog needs to "progress" like classical music did. Use mellotrons and synths like violins and harpsicords and make lots more music. From the opening the 12 string and Hackett guitar parts through the percussive parts to the resolved chords near the end this first song ATLAS ... this is my Genesis 2015. Let more come forth. Build your future boys, the sky is the limit. Prog is coming back to those who love the classics of the 70's. Look at some of their covers of early Genesis songs on you tube for examples. I listen to Devil's bridge near the middle and hear songs from the future that Anthony Philips never really got to have with Genesis. Scatchy mellotron intros on Cheating Mountain are really cool. You know that this stuff will never be done by the other G boys again but this group is really carrying the torch here. Minute 3:50 more Mellotron yes... then there is "On your own" just a very nice song. On "The Last Mile" we get soft and loud and great guitar work with melodies...the organ from ELP or Triumvirat and it repeats nicely a theme...Keep up the great work and WatchthePortal for more incoming great tunes.
Report this review (#1440489)
Posted Monday, July 13, 2015 | Review Permalink

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