EP REVIEW: Doug Ratner and The Watchmen - Lessons Will Be Learned (EP)
By Cyrus Rhodes - 06/13/2012 - 01:32 PM EDT
Artist: Band: Doug Ratner and The Watchmen
Album: Lessons will be Learned (EP)
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Alternative Rock
Sounds Like: Cult, Social Distortion, Rancid, Suicidal Tendencies
Technical Grade: 7/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 8/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 7/10
Best Songs: Bombs in the Backseat, Do You Remember
Weakness: EP Release, More Guitar Solos pelase!
Massachusetts based “Doug Ratner and The Watchmen” release their latest EP Lessons will be learned in 2012. Quickly becoming one of the biggest bands in the region and beyond, Doug Ratner and The Watchmen are riding the wild wave of success happening with “Bomb in the Backseat,” which recently hit #2 on Amazon’s Hottest New Release in Classic Rock chart and Radio 104.1 Hartford’s (WMRQ) most requested song of the week of April 29. They recently opened for the Spin Doctors at Pearl St., have played the R Bar in NYC several times and have amassed an energized regional fan base via shows throughout Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
The EP kicks things off with “Bombs in the Backseat” a hard rocking intro piece that serves up driving rock rhythm, slamming rhythm guitar against heartfelt vocals from Ratner. Track 2 “Money” an impressive Pink Floyd classic delivering more of the same punk-rock intensity with its smooth as silk rock groove and no holds barred lyrical content. Track 3 “Ghost in the Mirror” shifts gears a bit with its melodic guitar intro, methodical musical build and heartfelt vocals. As the CD quickly unfolds I can hear influences ranging from The Cult, Social Distortion, Rancid to old school Suicidal Tendencies. The music has everything you would expect from a high octane power driven punk CD. The musical style refuses to be pinned down, the vocals from Ratner are gritty and are deep in your grill. The guitar playing is hot to the touch. Make no bones about it – this is total mosh-pit madness but there are also touches of Classic Jam band and old school Punk Rock. Ratner’s vocal style works extremely well with this style of music with its stereotypical jagged edge delivery. He reminds me of Roger Daltry (The Who), Ian Astbury (The Cult). Rhythm section - lays down the low end groove thick as a brick. What I like most about the music is its rock solid intensity; note for note and song for song. Like a heavy weight boxer the songs keep coming at you one after the other - with no sign of letting up. From grooving “Do you Remember” to Track 5 “Take Me Home” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber – this EP has something for just about everyone.
I typically deduct one start from EP releases as the full length release is a more complete snapshot of what a band is capable of. At any given time. I also wish I heard more guitar solos throughout the EP.
This latest EP teaser from “Doug Ratner and The Watchmen” is a solid and consistent musical statement from start to finish. Its strength – the raw song for song intensity that keeps coming at you. No doubt these guys are a total riot to check out live in the back clubs of Massachusetts. I Look forward to hearing the full length release hopefully late on this Summer.
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