Watch Commander-Clock and Compass
Record Label: Self Released
Release Date: July 16, 2012
Different sounds and variations on genres will come and go. Many of these genres will mean little to many people and some may mean very much to a small amount of people, but very few sounds stay the same, hacking away at the edges of musical consciousness, for such a sustained period of time, as punk rock has. Its name may have changed; punk rock, melodic punk, melodic hardcore, but ‘that stuff that isn’t quite as uncontrollable as Sex Pistols and is sort of catchy but not in a pop way’ will never die, as long as there are gangs of young ‘uns feeling a tad angry and disillusioned. Watch Commander, my friends, are a punk rock band. Utilising a combination of catchiness and youthful energy, Watch Commander are here to unleash a series of three minute mini mayhems upon the mosh pits of Worcester, UK and beyond. Since forming a mere two years ago, Watch Commander, consisting of Si Rutherford (guitar and vocals), J Stallwood (guitar and backing vocals), Simon Powell (bass and backing vocals) and Claudio Caggianiello (drums), have released two EPs and this debut album, Clock and Compass.
Clock and Compass clocks in (never excuse the pun) at a mere 30 minutes and does exactly what a punk rock album should. Every track is worthy of a singalong and could possibly be used to soundtrack a skateboarding video game. ‘Cheating Death’ starts the album off with brief feedback and is instantly into ‘jump around’ mode. They manage to strike the right balance between gratuitous breakdowns and they avoid slipping into automatic like many bands of their ilk may. The fifth track, ‘Travellers’, is the first time Watch Commander slow down a bit, and it’s certainly one of the strongest of the release, but is disappointingly short on the clock (strike two), lasting just under two minutes. ‘Stillwater’ is extremely catchy and the male/female vocals over the chorus work perfectly. It’s the best track of the album and definitely showcases the band at its strongest. ‘Same Ghosts’ is another slow track, but is even shorter than its earlier counterpart, at less than a minute. The album closes with ‘From The Lighthouse’, dealing with any last minute singalong urges the audience may have, and leaving you satisfied that your punk rock appetite has been whetted.
Watch Commander have crafted an album that is, whilst not likely to lead to them becoming figureheads of their scene, definitely worth recognition. There is no aspect of the record that strictly sees them go wrong. Slight weaknesses may lie in the fact that they are veering dangerously close to sounding like the British The Swellers, and that at times Rutherford’s vocals aren’t quite as strong as they should be, but these are very minor and don’t serve as a distraction when listening to the album. It would be interesting to hear them play out one of their slower songs instead of vanquishing them to the interval bin, but Watch Commander are doing what they set out to do with talent, youthful exuberance and choruses as big as a bus, and are definitely worth a listen.