Black Watch at Dagger

After a million records (and nearly as many labels) it seem like L.A. ‘s Black Watch might have finally settled into a label who can take their reins and go (and now I’m hearing that this will be their final record….damn). Of course I’ve probably mentioned that in other reviews (and don’t go calling the band underrated/underrecognized either as leader John Andrew Frederick will let you know they have a press pack the size of a telephone book). So on this, their umpteenth record (their previous record was last year’s THE END OF WHEN) Frederick goes it alone, at least I think so.  Gone is Steven Schayer (previously in The Chills) and in is….I dunno, it only mentions Fredericks’ name on the cd cover. He’s been doing what he’s been doing for over two decades, writing chiming, literate pop songs that swing n’ sway and sometimes bust wide open. Opening title track adds some cool fuzz to the proceedings (while track #2, “There You Were’ is pure fuzz, his Metal Machine Music if you will) and things really pick up on the excellent, jangly “Scream.” He channels his inner Morrissey/Mark Eitzel on “Dear Dead Love” (if either of them were singing of a woman) and brings it all home on the killer “Darling I’ve Been Meaning To.” The second half of the record is just as strong. I’m wondering what Fredericks’ next move will be, I can’t imagine him giving up music all together, I guess we’ll see, but regardless, SUGARPLUM FAIRY, SUGARPLUM FAIRY is a damn good way to go out.

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