It's been a while since Los Angeles produced a homegrown band of note and, while there are pleasing aspects to The Hypnotizing Sea, it's unlikely that situation will be changed by an act relying on a tiny indie label in Dorset to get its material heard. Which is a shame, as The Black Watch have, in John Andrew Frederick, a songwriter who is comfortable referencing Kerouac, Nostradamus and Shakespeare in songs such as the title track and "The Shakespeare Song", yet also capable of moments of sublime simplicity, like the couplet "Don't want to/ But I want you" - or even the more nonsensical, nursery-rhyme fare of "Buttercup Fairchild". The Black Watch draw heavily on British influences, from the Nick Drakean guitar and strings combination of "The Teacup Song" to the My Bloody Valentine-style clangour of guitar drones that opens the album on "Innercity Garden", and the strident, Hooky-style basslines of "The Hypnotizing Sea" itself. Any mystery about Frederick's main influence is dispelled by "Dylan Dylan Dylan", a homage that borrows the light touch of Bob's "I Want You" to express his devotion.
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