‘Wooden Castles’ from Gerard and The Watchmen - deserves time to make its presence felt(December 12, 2013)
Certain albums take time to work their magic – sometimes it’s so understated you don’t notice it happening. Then when it arrives the ‘touch’ is palpable. These albums create something you feel you could reach out and touch. There’s also something that takes a long time to savour. Something that softly leaves a lasting mark. That’s what happens with ‘Wooden Castles’ from Gerard and The Watchmen. In essence, an album that deserves time to soak through and make its presence felt.
The essential attraction of ‘Wooden Castles’ rests in its warmly thoughtful songs. The lead vocals divulge a calming almost soporific quality – no I don’t mean the album will send you to sleep, it simply radiates calm. That feeling is lifted by the wavering harmonies that dance and swoop across the songs with their lyrical narratives to keep you involved. The short, plainly titled ‘Intro’ flows imperceptibly into ‘Long We Stood’ – a fine vehicle for their vocals and instrumentation. There’s a pace change into the buoyant yet stark optimism of ‘Viking Burial’ and yet another through the moody ‘Broken Horses’, while‘Wooden Castles’ itself lays down its thoughtful statement through a gentle chill.
On the album Gerard and The Watchmen are Dave Gerard (songwriter, guitar, drums) James Frid (harmony vocals, guitar, mandolin) Nuala Honan (harmony vocals, guitar, banjo, harmonica) and Dan Rogers (upright bass).
An essence of absorbing acoustic folk, contemplative layered vocals, fragile delicate harmonies and a tantalising soupcon of rocky Americana-edge flows in equal quality through this album but it does take time to work its magic. Give it time to work.
Reviewer: Dan Holland