The Black Watch

The Christopher Smart

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Here's another little Black Watch slice of what Magnet perfectly described as "superb, elegant, folk-rock inspired dreamcore." Recording alone this time, with an unobtrusive drum machine playing a soft beat in the background, the lovely L.A. duo/couple of guitarist John Andrew Frederick and violinist/guitarist J'anna Jacoby once again delivers the goods. "Christopher Smart" is another beguiling tune from these underrated overachievers, with Jacoby's spiraling violin solo -- more of the unique, dynamic element she has lent to Frederick's honey-dipped songs for over a decade. As she picks a pretty pattern on her acoustic, the male half trills a playful homage to the little-known 18th century writer Smart, whose too-fervent piousness led to his unjust confinement in a mental institution and eventually, upon his release, financial ruin and reincarceration (this time in debtors prison). Just as lovely are the piano and violin-augmented skip-beat pleasure "When You Get High" (with its "No time for fussing/fighting" references to the Beatles' "We Can Work It Out" and a rhythmic feel out of New Order) and the breezy swing of "To William, My Father, Who Brought Home Books on India." Likewise, Jacoby's turn at the mic on "Honeybee" is typically splendid, as the pair launches into its My Bloody Valentine drone-pop mode, with a louder and thicker atonal background that still serves a strong melody so well.

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