Watch, The - Ghost

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Lizard
Catalog Number: 022
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:07:00

Bobo reviews the CDR Advance of Ghost. Release data pertains to the final version.

When in 1993 Italian singer Simone Rossetti gathered some friends together he probably never had thought he would soon be considered to be Peter Gabriel's twin brother! It took the band some time before they released the album Twilight in 1997 under the name of The Night Watch. But then once again problems arose as their keyboard player was in the army and didn't have the opportunity to rehearse as often as he needed to, so the search for a replacement went on. For a while it looked like the band was no more and to enhance this feeling the guys decided to change their name to the shorter The Watch once they had a new line-up together.

With the number of positive reviews behind their name for the superb debut album, of course the band needed to work hard on their follow up. In 1999 a three-track promo was mailed to some press-friends containing 19:37 worth of new music in the form of "New Heroes," "Fading," and "When Death Caught Me In The Sleep." Strangely enough, none of these songs are featured on Ghost, their fabulous new seven-track full-length album. Compared to Twilight, it's only singer Simone Rossetti who has remained. All of the other musicians are new yet complement each other very professionally, as if they have been playing together for donkey's years. Only seconds into "DNAlien" and it's vintage Genesis that is all over you again like a rash. Mixed in Pisa earlier this year, the song contains loads and loads of mellotron sounds and stunning drumming. New keyboard player Sergio Taglioni certainly leaves his mark with his dramatic yet romantic contribution on piano during "The Ghost And The Teenager." The further this song evolves the closer it gets to some real vintage Genesis material, as guitarist Valerio Vado also adds that unmistakeable Steve Hackett touch. That approach is even more highlighted during "Heroes," including some echoing guitars in the background during the intro. The music twists and turns in order to fully enhance Simone's dramatic, theatrical singing whilst fingerpicking guitar adds a fragile texture to the song. Having seen the band perform live twice I know how good Simonne is on stage, really performing in order to explain the lyrics with his visuals.

It's as if the album is cut into two halves by introducing the short instrumental "interlude" "Lochsmith" (probably should be "Locksmith"), which is nothing more than layers of synths serving as an introduciton for the fierce intro of "Moving Red." The song is filled with powerful rhythm changes, interesting keyboard interventions, not in the least the very strong Banks reference on organ. The short "Riding The Elephant" maybe is the most "modern" sounding of the lot, getting close to the atmosphere on Peter Gabriel's first solo albums, when Larry Fast was in charge of modulators and oscillators. The "modern" result is probably also due to the synthesized percussion. The final song "And The Winner Is" is probably The Watch's very own "Musical Box," what with the subtle guitar playing and gentle vocal harmonies. But then the mellotron introduces a section "in overdrive" which really sets this song ablaze, combining the symphonic nature of Genesis with the true progressive inclination of King Crimson. Once again this song sports some interesting keyboard interventions by Gabriele Manzini. My version of this song is interspersed by some weird noises in the background and I do hope this has something to do with a faulty CD-R as it does the song more harm than good should it be intentional.

The only negative comment maybe has to be the lack of flute (except for a couple of bars in "And The Winner Is" which could well be played by a synth as opposed to real flute) that on the first album was also performed by Simonne Rossetti. Maybe this time he wants to concentrate more on his singing and thus steer the band in a slightly different direction by doing so. Hopefully though he will still turn to the flute when he performs some of the "older" songs during gigs.

I'm convinced there are people out there who have waited 30 years for this, an album which can rub shoulders with Trespass, Nursery Crime and Foxtrot, because this is the best album Genesis never made! I simply hope Hit and Run will be able to pass this album around and rightfully send a letter of praise signed by all of the Genesis household to Italy! Knowing Italy was the very first country where Genesis really had a breakthrough (even before England!) maybe it's time The Watch started to gather a strong following in their native country and of course the rest of the world. A band to Watch out for!

DNAlien (8:36) / The Ghost And The Teenager (8:38) / Heroes (9:27) / Lochsmith / Moving Red (9:27) / Riding The Elephant (3:38) / ?And The Winner Is? (10:11)

Simone Rossetti - vocals
Valerio Vado - guitars
Marco Schembri - bass
Sergio Taglioni - piano, keyboards
Gabriele Manzini - keyboards
Roberto Leoni - drums

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

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin IT

Added: April 19th 2001
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 1199
Language: english


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