Robert Watson – The Resistance – Review

Robert Watson - The ResistanceA multi-talented artist with a focus on experimental psychedelic rock, Robert Watson has been writing, recording, and releasing his own music completely DIY since 2009. Based in Dayton, OH, and dubbing himself as “The Eclectic Music Man,” Watson delivers a purely instrumental blend of psychedelic rock, funk, jazz, R&B, and soul. Having used music as a source of comfort in his own life growing up, Watson continues to spread this peaceful feeling in his latest 2019 album release, The Resistance.

Robert Watson – The Resistance

The title track on the album is heavier on the drums and percussion than the other tracks, using abrasive, almost brassy sounding drums to create an eclectic, heavy sound. A funky, derelict bass line plucks along as if acting as the lead vocals; meanwhile, a dense layer cake of guitar, keyboard, and polyrhythmic drums feeds into the background, and suddenly the bass is exchanging leads with the guitar and keys all rather equally, like a trifecta chorus. Each instrument has a sentence to lead into the next, like a playful back and forth interplay between all the instruments. The song “The Resistance” sounds like a freestyle jam session with an underlying structure and intent that keeps the arrangement succinct and the message clear.

“(There’s Plenty Of) Chaos In The World” starts off with energetic drums before kicking into a heavy head-banging groove right off the bat. Shifting from one groove to another with kinetic flow and clear intention, with shimmers of warbled keyboard and guitar switching places for the lead role. Although the recording could use more quantization, Watson throws down a lot of energy on this track and the bright, Hendrix-like guitar continues to drive this song forward with energy, adding new information as it goes. About halfway through, a telephone-muted guitar melody rings out and is then joined by the keyboards in a stuttered stop time before jumping back into the instrumental hook from the beginning. Robert Watson tells a story without words, using the ebb and flow of his music to have a conversation.

The last song on the album, “An Ode To Parkland,” is a soft and tender lullaby delivered through overdubbed layers of acoustic guitar. While the guitar in the recording needs to be tuned better, the sparkling fingerpicked guitar melody hums and chimes along like the calming twinkle of bells in a baby’s crib. The music is mournful yet comforting, with rays of hope that all is not lost in this world. Watson evokes feelings of loss, grief, love, and missing someone very dearly, all using no drums — just guitar and bass. The bass bumps along on a “do-sol” arpeggio to accompany the guitar in a cradled rock-a-bye kind of way. Watson chose this piece as a somberly quiet and peacefully uplifting way to cap off his latest album.

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