While the music industry's love affair with all things reminiscent of Eighties new-wave and post-punk continues with the likes of Editors and Maximo Park draping their wiry frames from every magazine willing to accommodate them (and website, heh), it's worth taking a step back and admiring those that slip from reviewer's fingers only to be rediscovered a little later. Me, I present Watchers. Dunes Phase, an EP of five straight-up efforts and a brace of remixes (well, one's a dub version), has been in my possession for months, but only now has it fought its way back to the top of the To Do pile after previously being a fixture within my personal stereo for weeks on end. Why I didn't praise it on 'paper' before now, I can't say; all you need to read though is this: buy this buy this buy this.
Well, don't part with your cash in exchange for this if you're one of the few unmoved by jittery rhythms and dance-friendly drumbeats, the core principles popularised by the aforementioned and those of note before them (hello Franz Party). But, if Silent Alarm and A Certain Trigger are among your favourites of 2005 so far, this'll top the pair off nicely like the proverbial icing on the layered cake. From Chicago, Watchers have been part of their local and national post-punk scene for years through members' involvement with Assembly Line People Programme and The Hex. Their current outfit trades in happy handclaps, hip-swinging grooves and incessant party beats, while vocals switch from deadpan to fevered without an eyeblink's notice.
Of the Watchers-only tracks, 'The Sway' possesses a computerised pulse and steely air of cool unnoticed in similar outfits occupying these isles - "This is the way of the upwardly mobile," _they state, and who are we to doubt such authoritative musicianship; it's a little like The Fall incorporating both a Krautrock edge and some semblance of pop melodies. _'Mono Mano' stutters its way through a minute and a half like Q And Not U covering acoustic Basement Jaxx records, and 'Blik'Em' is perfect dance-punk-funk-whatever, high-pitched and not entirely audible vocals drifting in and out over ever-quickening discordance.
The brace of alternative versions - a Belmont Ave. Mix of 'The Sway' and slight dub take on 'Mono Mano' re-titled 'Mono Dub' (d'uh) - by The Eternals' Wayne Montana are neatly tacked on the end of the original quintet and sound far from out of place. That said, it's those Watchers-proper songs you'll be tapping the toes to for the foreseeable future, should you give this EP the opportunity it deserves. Put simply: _do_ buy this.
8Mike Diver's Score