It’s difficult to categorize the black watch by genre, but the band’s latest single, “Mad,” out on Atom Records, is somewhere between post-punk, psychedelic and alternative rock. Elements characteristic of each of these genres work together with surprising cohesion to create an intricately-woven grungy love song. “Mad” opens with moderately grungy guitar chords and a bright melody ringing in the background, setting up a contrast between grit and light that continues throughout the song. This pairing of textures adds complexity and intrigue to the song, contributing a touch that is distinctly the band’s own, and though there is a slight dissonance in the track from time to time, it’s broken up by melodic vocals and, in the bridge, a cool guitar solo.
The track’s vocals, too, highlight a contrast: at first, the post-punk influence is clear through dry, almost speak-singing vocals, but a pleasant melody comes forward in the chorus as frontman John Andrew Fredrick croons surprisingly sweet lyrics about falling in love (“I don’t know what you’re on about half of the time/I can’t make sense of much of what you say/All I know now, love, is that I am falling/And that you’re crazy, but in a very good way”).
And on top of this complexity, the musical sounds on “Mad” are unique. Jangly pop guitar takes on a flash of grit, the drum beat is consistently driving and it all has a vintage ’80s sound. It’s a catchy, unique single that promises good things from the black watch’s upcoming record, Magic Johnson.
“Mad” is only the first single from the black watch’s upcoming record, Magic Johnson, which will be released on August 8, 2019, via Atom Records. Magic Johnson will be the 17th full-length for songwriter John Andrew Fredrick, which is no small feat for any musician. In the meantime, get a hefty dose of post-punk-meets-alternative-rock by listening to the album’s latest single, “Mad,” below.