The Black Watch is a long standing labor of love for John Andrew Fredrick. He has consistently churned out quality lo-fi music for god knows how long while building a devout legion of fans in the process. Hanging out below mainstream music’s radar has become Frederick’s home as he treats listeners to songs that fit somewhere between 80’s new wave and Guided By Voices.
On the latest release, Sugarplum Fairy, Sugarplum Fairy, Fredrick is once again the driving force behind The Black Watch writing all the songs and playing most of the instruments. The opening track, “Sugarplum Fairy”, is almost impossible not to like. Fuzz filled guitars chug along as Fredrick’s low melodic voice dancers around the music. It is a perfect first track hooking listeners and getting them to want to travel deeper into the record. With each song on Sugarplum Fairy you are rewarded with something different from the depths of Fredrick’s cranium. On the track “Scream” you get a world built around jangly guitars, on “Quietly Now” Fredrick shows how raw he can take the music and on the sparse “A Major Favor” he demonstrates that the Black Watch is about more than just being loud and fuzzy. The song “There You Were” encompasses everything I like about Sugarplum Fairy, Sugarplum Fairy. Fredrick fills the initial 2 minutes of the song with repetitive static filled noise before the song transforms into something incredible. As if he knew we could only stand 2 minutes of his droning guitar the song explodes into a pop infused wonderland full of catchy melodies, jangly guitars and Fredrick’s vocals.
Sugarplum Fairy, Sugarplum Fairy from the Black Watch may not be innovative but it is definitely captivating due to each song offering up something different. The album never become stagnant as Frederick invites us into his musical world. So slide in under the radar and check out the Black Watch.