To the Rooftops

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To the Rooftops Review

by Charles Spano

The consistently impressive Gern Blandsten Records presents the Watchers' debut, To the Rooftops, and the band comes out swinging and ready to dance. Taking on soul, punk, and funk, ex-members of the Hex and the Graham Coxon-produced Assembly Line People combine it all into one wildly inventive, non-stop groove. While the group fits in nicely with the jagged rock and post-hardcore of their hometown, Chicago, there's a cranky no wave edge ("Two Worlds," for example) that ties them to New York City and a dub-y vibe ("Gold Standard," "The Dirty Sponsor") worthy of GoGoGo Airheart. When all is said and done, the Watchers sound most like the Talking Heads on Remain in Light, whether it be with the simmering, David Byrne-esque vocals on "Our Exchange" or the disco-funk of "My Cube." The Watchers may not have reached their full potential with their debut, but few bands do, and the fun comes from seeing where they'll go with it.

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