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Watershed - Staring at the Ceiling

2009-01-09 16:10
Staring at the Ceiling
It's a buoyant remembrance of things past that's guaranteed to give middle-aged fans of everyone from REM and Dave Matthews Band to James Blunt a reason to get all nostalgic about their 'first time'. Actually, that's not entirely accurate. While more cynical critics might insist on such a sum of its parts comparison, the reality is that Watershed is one of a handful of South African bands who actually know what to do with their influences. Wear them well.
The chart-topping Gauteng combo may also love a hook-laden Coldplay cloned hum-along ("Train Ride") or a U2-lite sized stadium stopper ("Rock Show"). But they're at their best – and most believable - on simpler, acoustic hued, break-up and make-up ballads. "It’s You" and "Future Sunshine" edge closer to the kind of bipolar chamber pop balladry that makes David Gray a genius without once resorting to Chris Martin's narcissism.

Sure, sometimes Watershed forgets that 'less is more' or that quiet will always be the new loud. Summery South Africana pop stroll "Breathing" can't seem to decide whether it wants to be a delicate Brit-pop ballad or a southern rock wailer. It's a minor lapse. As slow-bruised storyboard "Jerry and Jenny" reminds, when Hinds remembers to keep it low key it's impossible not to be moved by the real heartache fuelling these adult contemporary rock tales of picket fences postponed.

- Miles Keylock

"The first time we laid down was so tender/And the next night I remember kept her high heels on…So excited, I invited her to stay awhile, Just as long as she promised to keep that red dress on" reminisces lead singer Craig Hinds on a rousing modern rocker by the name of "17".

What to read next: Kalahari

Gavin K 2008-09-08 10:52 PM
WATERSHED - OVERFLOWS IN ABUNDANCE. WATERSHED is the quintessential SA rock band who really are in the game because of there love of playing music and they come into their own when they share their finely crafted songs with a live audience. Craig Hinds is the front man and you get the feeling that he enjoys the entire process from creating the finished product with love, care, flair and a good eye for the finest detail. I think the Watershed franchise could go on and on because their distinctive signature sound that has remained from album 1 to today. The ever popular" Indigo Girl" is as relevant now as it was back then and the mark of a Great Band is their ability to write songs that stand the ultimate test of being timeless. WATERSHED show no signs of slowing down with a fan base that extends from Dusseldorf to Durban and we salute the boyz on yet another great body of work with Staring at the Ceiling.

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