Watch For Rocks – Exploring The Space

Watch For Rocks is probably the most underrated band in the valley. First of all, they are composed entirely of geologists, secondly they put out an amazing pop-rock record this summer while everyone was sleeping in their air conditioned capsules. So while you were sleeping, this happened–and by I mean happened I mean they put out one of the most compelling albums of the year. When Watch For Rocks became one of my favorite live bands in town, I thought I was late for the party, but it turned out the party was just getting started. The band itself consists of Sarah Robinson on lead vocals & keys, Danny Foley on bass,
Andy Ryan on guitar & backup vocals, Keith Morrison on guitar and Cameron Mercer on drums.

There is a lot of “geocentric rock” here from the introductory spell of “Welcome to Earth”, which begins with a mesmerizing vocal round, before launching into a simply great rock song about returning to Earth after being away for a while (literally or metaphorically). It is also seems to be about everyone just being themselves and how much the world would be better if that occurred, a “change for the better”, if you will. Through the tributary tribute of “Capsize” you immediately understand the songwriters intellectual leanings. It also happens to be the longest song on the album and it appears they have been able to capture the zeitgeist of late 1980s alternative music in this one song, plus some obsessions over the water cycle within our atmosphere. The entire album is filled with this sort of amazing nods to bright minds, which honestly makes it thoroughly enjoyable.

These are scientists making music and music I may add that is magnificent. “Coldest Night Of The Year” is probably the most beautiful song in sentiment on the album. They could have gone the whole length of it with the semi-acoustic groove and it would have been fun, but the electric guitar blow out at the end is perfection. This also happens to be one of Robinson’s sweetest vocal deliveries of all time. “Whiskey Red” gets to the straight out rock’n'roll right away and features Ryan’s vocals right up front from the lead in and here Robinson is the back up, which is a genius choice to switch it up. In the second verse Robinson leads, but one thing that stands out through the entire song is Mercer’s relentlessly awesome drumming. This is simply stunning and my new favorite. Introduced with dark keys and a stark vocal by Robinson, “Not About Us” is wonderfully reprised from their debut EP as are all three of the amazing tracks from that wonderful release. This was incredibly good news when I discovered that. The song solidifies the idea in my mind that they grew up on late 80s and 90s alternative music, because this would have been a perfect ballad from that era.

“Volcano” is one of the songs that sticks in my head every time I see them live and on record it’s no different–it’s kind of what music is supposed to be, possessed and full of charge.¬† Again, this is a pure geological musing on love and romance, about holding your emotions/words in or letting them out and it’s a brilliant metaphor. How many times have you tried to “not erupt this time.” Another return from the EP is “Walk Away”, with mentions of whiskey, cartography and wanderlust, it is all played out to a waltz. I would like to see this in a video with ballroom dancers for some reason, possibly in Victorian times, with the band looking ultra modern. That’s what happens in my head when I hear this song. And in case you were wondering, that’s Andy Ryan on the trumpet, and while Foley writes many of the songs or lyrics here, this is something of a triumph. Stunning. Foley also happens to be the songwriter behind my favorite song by Watch For Rocks of all time, “Party On Pluto.” The final song from the EP, this should be played at every party ever–not only is it a hell of a lot of fun, it’s intelligent as well. A fantastic pop rock number that won’t leave you for days and as far as I am concerned, no matter how long I live Pluto “will always be my number nine.”

There is a haunting quality to “Bet On Love” that is indescribably atmospheric and beautiful, it amazes because it adds to their range and while it dwells a bit in melancholy it adds more to their voice. The early focus on Robinson’s voice and Foley’s bass is just brilliant before the rest of he ban kicks in with a tricky arrangement. I love it when Watch For Rocks literally rocks out and they do it well on “Closer Now” which has a beautiful dangerous vibe and it’s sexy as all hell. Andy Ryan is the writer here and his voice is up front once more, with great effect. It is another great number heavily influenced by the early years of alternative rock. The album concludes with “Angel’s Share” which is a dream pop number that hypnotizes you away and makes you want to listen to the entire album all over again. Which you then actually do. It’s another brilliant number by Foley that is a perfectly scientific construction around spirituality. I’m pretty sure that even if I didn’t know they were scientists, I would pick up on unusual scientific references they make that no other band would, because I was a science major early on. I love it. This is simply a fantastic finale to a fantastic album. Simply Perfect. Listen to the album below and hear for yourself.

Be sure to check out Watch For Rocks this¬† Saturday, Movember 22 at The Rogue Bar for a very mustache movember themed show to raise awarness and support for men’s health by rocking out! Doors at 8pm with a $5 Cover–all proceeds go to Movember foundation. Watch For Rocks will be supported by Jonathan Sakas, The Upper Strata, Darkness Dear Boy, and Sister Lip
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