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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Watch

Timeless

Review by Mark Johnson

This is one of my most anticipated new albums of the year. So it was with great pleasure that I listened to the opening bars and notes. The Watch recently finished a tour which included playing the From Genesis to Revelation album in its entirety live. It must have had a big effect on the band. Going back through that wonderful classic album and music to learn its keys, notes and lyrics must have inspired them to wonder what it would sound like with some revisions, brought up to date for the 21st Century. On Timeless, it feels like they have done just that. They picked the best parts from this classic album and improved upon it. From Genesis to Revelation is timeless, and The Watch's Timeless proves that this music is as relevant today as it was in the magical year of 1969. (Ed. – For the sake of clarity, this is not a reworking of From Genesis to Revelation, though. It is an original album that seems inspired by that disc. It does include three Genesis covers, though – one of them a live recording.)

This was originally published at Sea of Tranquility (seaoftranquility.org) and this review is adapted from that one.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Watch

The first few guitar chords from "The Watch" will take you right back to the timeless Genesis classic "From Genesis to Revelation.” That "music, all I hear is music" melody from "In the Wilderness,” now set to new lyrics; "Futile, everything is futile / Really such a tears / I'm not hiding my face." A sad, longing look, into the past and future which has changed greatly since that timeless Genesis album first made its debut back in the magical year of 1969. A cherished look back at what was and what could have been. This band knows exactly how to capture a moment in time. It’s early, but this is the best new album of 2011, so far!

Thunder has Spoken

After a turbulent synth whirlwind, "Thunder Has Spoken,” opens with power chords, synths and drums. "The day has arrived,” set to the "In the Beginning" melody from the From Genesis to Revelation album. The cool guitar chords and keys give a new sound to this classic song. It is great to hear this piece reborn through new voices and modern synths. The lyrics are different and capture the feeling of modern life. The instrumental sections show you why there really is no other band recreating and, better yet, creating this classic Genesis influenced sound better. No one I have heard yet comes as close to Peter Gabriel's classic vocal sound than Simone Rossetti. But the guitar, keys and drums are also magic, bringing back to life this sound and genre and keeping it from the archives of history by renewing it periodically with new albums which capture the spirit and point the way to the future.

One Day

The lyrics and vocals of Rossetti, "Where were you? / What were you thinking? / When did it start?  / Let it go. / Let it get away." opens "One Day.” Then drums, synths and guitar blast through before more incredible vocals and lyrics. The guitar chords are new and shine through as the drum sets a soft timeless beat. The familiar "One Day" refrain from the original From Genesis to Revelation album is echoed before some of the best synth music I've heard since early Genesis helps to raise the bar even further.

In the Wilderness

How do you cover one of the best songs of this early period, from one of your heroes? This band has a long history of delivering some of Genesis' best classic albums live. So they are familiar with the territory and reverence which many of us fans save for this music. With "In the Wilderness" we find out how this band can deliver a classic Genesis song and make some improvements with time. This time the familiar, "Music, all I hear is music / guaranteed to please." is back, and I can hardly contain the smile and emotions of hearing this new version. Although Genesis did some remaking of the track for their archives collections, this is a much more alive and a fresh version of the song. The years have been good to the tune, and Simone Rossetti and the band make it all sound brand new. The electric chords and keys bring the number to life and display it proudly as an early accomplishment of Genesis and a great re-working by the Watch.

Soaring On

Beautiful flute and acoustic guitar open "Soaring On.” "Soaring on, I was trying to write some song.” Rossetti relates his story of the creative process and capturing the sound and lyrics. "…was it only five years? / it seemed like a lifetime." Yes, it seemed that way for all of us early Genesis fans. I have been searching for music like this for years. The Watch's music brings back the quality and beauty of the music of the past, but with new voices and players. All of the power of this band summed up in a song. Yes, may they continue to “Soar On!”

Let Us Now Make Love

 "Let Us Now Make Love" is the second of three Genesis cover songs on Timeless. This is the second studio track. A live version of "Stagnation", from The Genesis album Trespass, is a bonus track from one of their live shows. This is a seldom heard Genesis song. Only the real fans have probably ever heard the original, which was not released until the archive CD collections came out. However, The Watch brings this formerly unreleased Genesis track to the fullness of light it has deserved for so long. Genesis had so many great songs that they had to pick and choose. This was always an excellent track and The Watch bring the full power of drums, synths, guitar and flute together to re-launch this song into glory. It's as if the song is being given its first try again in a new home on this album. The flute that takes us out is wonderful.

Scene of the Crime

"Scene of the Crime" is set to a bouncing beat similar to the Genesis track "In Hiding,” from the album From Genesis to Revelation. It opens with Rossetti singing without accompaniment before the rest of the band joins in. Those wonderful keys perfectly support Rossetti as he sings the lyrics, "Every move is yours to make / So go ahead / Just let it go / Follow your instinct / Go with the flow." The vocals and music bring back the feelings left back in the '60s and '70s and renew the spirit at the same time.

End of the Road

Valerio De Vittorio's excited piano and synths opens the "End of the Road.” Then the Hackett – like guitar of Giorgio Gabriel and Guglielmo Mariotti's bass, along with the Collins – like drums of Marco Fabbri pound through. Rossetti's vocals follow through. Then the familiar sounds of the "In the Wilderness" refrain come back again to capture the epic moments of the song. You almost want to hear Rosetti repeat the lyrics, "As the people run their lives / As their lives are run by time…,” to really bring home the apocalyptic lyrics he has been vocalizing. But the music fills this void well as a spectacular rendition of this melody climaxes the end of the song and it fades out with a cool synthesizer.

Exit

"Exit" is another beautiful Vittorio piano segment filled with the familiar sound of the "In The Wilderness" refrain.

Stagnation

You will swear you are listening to Peter Gabriel when you hear "Bonus: Stagnation - from the ‘Blue show 2010.’" The entire band plays at such a perfect level you'll swear you're listening to the original. One day I will see this band live. It is near the top of my wish list. For all of you Genesis fans who missed the Peter Gabriel tour years (I was just a teenager in middle school) this is the closest we will probably ever get to that level of play again. If this comes out on an exclusive edition, make sure you wait to get that version. It is worth the price of admission to hear this played live.

 
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