http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com: The Chocolate Watchband "This Is My Voice"
Breaking out of the West Coast counter culture scene of the 1960s, The Chocolate Watchband , influenced by the British Invasion sounds, shook with an intensity and drive that saw them drench themselves in psychedelia while at the same time foraging an early proto-punk trough. Their influence has proved more potent than their sales were at the time, overshadowed by other groups and ripped off by music fat cats, theirs is a tale of returning to the stage to find that their fanbase has grown in the intervening half a century. So, sit back and take a ride with one of the original voices of the psych garage-rock scene.
Sometimes it’s pretty cool to see the old timers getting their due. Over the years, a lot of the legends of ’60s garage rock who didn’t quite get the same level of recognition back in the day as some of their more famous peers have made a comeback after a lengthy hiatus. Bands like The Sonics and The Sloths come to mind as just a couple of the acts who’ve shown in recent years just how good a bunch of old guys playing garage rock can be. And now California garage/psych/proto-punk legends The Chocolate Watchband are back again with a new album, This Is My Voice .
While the Chocolate Watchband reunited in 1999 after a 29-year hiatus, they've not released much new material since then. So that makes the strength of This Is My Voice all the more impressive. For this incarnation of the group, key early members such as vocalist/percussionist David Aguilar, guitarist Tim Abbott, and drummer Gary Andrijasevich have been joined by bassist Alec Palao and guitarist Derek See (both of the excellent psych-rock unit Rain Parade).
Together they've created a record that deviates from the Watchband's first phase of raunchy groovers and tender space-outs, opting for a more modern rock sound, yet without sacrificing their keen ear for anthemic songwriting and memorable melodies. These seasoned musicians didn't take the easy route with their original, politically engaged compositions, but did acknowledge their roots with four well-chosen covers of songs by the Mothers of Invention, the Seeds, Bob Dylan, and the Music Machine.
The song that blew the proverbial top of everyone's head (Especially Little Steven's Underground Garage) off is “Secret Rendezvous,” the opening track of This is My Voice, the forthcoming album from psych-rock legends The Chocolate Watchband. It’s an exhilarating monster of a cut, equipped with a hook that doesn’t quit, snarling fuzztone guitar notes, a stomping backbeat, and lead singer David Aguilar’s ragged, swaggering growl of a voice.
The band has made a deliberate decision to avoid the nostalgia band tag that many of their contemporaries have been tagged with. They have new ideas and things that they want to say that are contemporary. It’s a delicate balance to remain true to themselves and their long term fans.
On This Is My Voice, The Chocolate Watchband have returned strongly, with firm proof that there is still a fire of indignation in them that they need to let out. It’s great to have them back and on form and the record neatly rounds their circle. But here’s hoping there’s more to come in the future. What’s certain is that it looks like there will be material for them to write about for a long while to come.