Having released six albums together, but still releasing a debut album – in case you are unable to solve the riddle around Watchhouse and their self-titled album, look into the bio section of this review. Watchhouse has been released on 13th August 2021.
Watchhouse – About The Artists
Watchhouse is an Americana / folk duo from the USA. They are based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Both, Andrew Marlin and Amily Frantz are vocalists of Watchhose. In addition, Marlin is doing the mandolin, guitar and banjo, while Frantz is rather doing violin and guitar sounds. Watchhouse is in fact their new band name – all previous albums have been released as Mandolin Orange. They are professionally active since 2009 and released their debut album Quiet Little Room in 2010. Especially their most recent album, Tide of a Teardrop (still a Mandolin Orange release) was very successful. It topped the US Heat album charts and went second in the US Folk Charts. After the album, the duo decided to change the branding after more than twenty years of total band history. Thus, Watchhouse is a debut album as well as the seventh release of the two musicians.
Watchhouse – Watchhouse – Track by Track
The nine track album lasts 37 minutes.
1. Wondrous Love
The album start with the thoughful Wondrous Love, which is also the shortest of all songs of the Watchhouse album. A nice song with an Americana touch, which is changing its style significantly towards the end. Not that catchy, unfortunately.
2. Better Way
If I could go walking with you by my side
would you be so unkind, so unkind
You could do all the talking, just speak your mind
Free your mind
The album is playing a lot with memories, thoughts – which makes it sometimes even a bit too hard to follow. This single release (almost six minutes) is a nice quiet piece of folk music. Even though it is rather limited in its sound, it still feels sometime a bit like too much. The long very quiet part in the middle of the song just feels to force me to go for the fast forward button. Finally, the song feels like a three minute track with a three minute outro.
3. Belly Of The Beast
After the first two songs, which came very thoughtful, sometimes almost psychedelic, the Belly Of The Beast has a very friendly folk sound – even though you might argue that the lyrics are not all warm and sunny:
Oh it’s maddening, running to the feast
Hiding from the monsters in the belly of the beast
Just give me your love, it’s all I need
Hide me from the monsters in the belly of the beast
4. New Star
New Star is a nice song, which also gives a strong Americana touch. I like the way the voices work together to create an harmonic sound. Beautiful song.
5. Upside Down
Amily Frantz is taking the lead in vocals in this fifth track, which comes with a lot of echo and atmospheric sounds. Not too bad at all – in fact, the song is a really good listen.
6. Lonely Love Affair
The Lonely Love Affair is having a lot of melodic elements and a clear rhythm. Andrew Marlin is back on the leading role at the microphone. He creates a good atmosphere, a nice listen. But the track could be more catching, I feel.
7. Green Mountain
That’s the way to do long songs: the first fifteen seconds of Green Mountain are silence only. Thereafter, the track becomes are widening instrumental track, which includes guitar elements as well as drums and violins.
8. Beautiful Flowers
Female vocal power again at Beautiful Flowers. I definitely enjoy the tracks in which Frantz is taking over the lead at the microphone. A rather quiet, but very nice collaboration.
The closing song starts rather promising, but then is rather loosing energy. The more powerful parts strongly feel like country music.
Watchhouse – Watchhouse – Spotify
Here is Watchhouse on Spotify:
Watchhouse – Watchhouse – My View
Marlin and Frantz do nice music together. They mostly create a gentle mood around their vocals, which drive their songs. Unfortunately, this leads to a rather limited sound. There are rarely loud, surprising elements. I don’t want to call it monotony, but the album is too constant to me.
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