Watch, The - Vacuum

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Pick Up
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 46:39:00

Ever since the members of Marillion decided to leave the fields of progressive rock in order to pretend that they were teenage snobs who only listened to Radiohead, a certain band has emerged from among the debris in order to lay claim to the neo-prog throne: IQ. Ok, so I'm spin-doctoring the facts a little bit. Ok, a lot. Marillion has been out of the picture for well over a decade and way before Steve Hogarth started trying so hard to be Thom Yorke, a bunch of bands could actually be considered the new kings of neo-prog, and IQ didn't really enter the picture big time until the release of Subterranea. Nevertheless, it is yours truly's opinion that the British band under the command of Martin Orford is the best exponent of the genre right now. So what the hell does this all have to do with an Italian band that goes by the name of The Watch? A lot, because The Watch sounds just like IQ.

Well, almost. Simone Rosetti's voice is somewhat different from that of Peter Nicholls' and closer to that of Peter Gabriel (it's certainly not a coincidence that Genesis is another major reference here). And he plays flute. Otherwise, however, any of the songs on Vacuum could have just as well been written and left in the vaults by IQ. Even the guitar tone and keyboard sounds on the album are pretty much the same. It's no wonder then that the album's tracks are almost all well-written pieces of music, if lacking in depth and originality. "Shining Bald Heads" is a complete tour de force with its biting grooves followed by melancholy chord progressions, "Out Of The Land" sparks up from slumber into some brilliant vocal melodies by Rosetti, and "Deeper Still" is a touching song regarding the birth of one's child. And although the closing title track is definitely an unimpressive slouch, the album ends up giving the listener a fairly enjoyable experience that is big on melodies, poignant mood shifts, and clever arrangements.

Unfortunately, however, it is also miles away from being on par with IQ. The obvious lack of originality in sound and songwriting is a large factor in the result, but there is also the fact that the spark that fuels the British group's outings is sorely missing in these Italians. Now, these Italians are good musicians, mind you, and they are obviously quite capable of coming up with tasteful material. A lot of it. If they find their own voice in the coming years, they could become major players in the world of neo-prog. As it stands tough, Vacuum is a record for those who are so enamoured with the genre that they have to have every album belonging to it, or for those who can't get enough of IQ and would be happy to find some quality replicas. It just isn't for the rest of us, I'm afraid.

Similar artists: IQ, Marillion, Genesis

Hills (1:26) / Damage Mode (7:17) / Wonderland (7:05) / Shining Bald Heads (5:55) / Out Of The Land (6:05) / Goddess (5:48) / Deeper Still (3:24) / The Vacuum (10:59)

Simone Rossetti - vocals, flute, dtambou, atmospheres
Ettore Salati - guitars, bass pedals
Marco Schembri - bass, guitars
Gabriele Manzini - keyboards
Roberto Leoni - drums, percussion

The Night Watch - Twilight (1999)
Ghost (2001)
Vacuum (2004)
Primitive (2007)
Planet Earth? (2010)
Timeless (2011)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin IT

Added: July 4th 2005
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 1939
Language: english


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