The Black Watch: Icing The Snow Queen

[4 June 2008]

By Jason MacNeil

A critic’s delight but still under the radar, the Black Watch once again bring thoughtful, highbrow and intelligent chops to the nearly dozen songs here. But unlike 2003’s Very Mary Beth, the mellow quotient has unfortunately been upped. Opening with the title track, lead singer/guitarist John Andrew Fredrick and backing vocalist/guitarist Scott Taylor don’t push the envelope too much but set the record off on the right route. There seems to be a bit more urgency with “On Another Plane” though as Fredrick and crew drive down a solid indie rock/alt.rock highway. Yet by the third track, the Black Watch loses the plot momentarily with a rather insipid “Quartz Pink Cloud” which is summery California rock—a definite unwelcoming change of pace for the band and the record. Fortunately, the band finds its mojo again with a delicious “Apres Lisette” with its sweet harmonies and guitar accents as it glides along. The same can be said for the bubbly Beatles-ish “The Love of the Buzz”, the gentle but gorgeous “Peppermint” and the slightly edgier “Jenny Holly Wally Martin”.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/the-black-watch-icing-the-snow-queen/