The Watchmen

McLaren Furnace Room

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The first half of McLarenFurnaceRoom (referring to the McLaren Hotel in downtown Winnipeg) delivers heavily rhythmic, sinewy guitar-driven rock. Producer Chris Wardman pulls off a neat coup in working Danny Greaves' commanding lead vocals to the forefront of the mix without sacrificing any of the instrumental muscle. But the real revelation comes from the disc's second half, featuring several rock-solid pop tunes and some of guitarist Joey Serlin's most thoughtful lyrics. In particular, "Mister" and "Anything But That" marry great melodies to devastating stories of abuse and family breakdown. It's quite a risk burying songs this good so deep into the recording, but the strategy works in terms of building to a fever intensity for the raging closer "Make You Go Down."

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