Album review

Waterdown :
The Files You Have On Me

Victory Records

Waterdown : The Files You Have On Me Looks like Victory scored another one with Waterdown. This is some of the best modern rock music I've heard in a long time - deep, creative, edgy, melodious, and each track properly positioned for maximum impact. There is of course more to the story than simple 'hard rock' would have you believe, but on the whole, it's a well serving shelter to a balanced attack of hardcore angst, metal riffing, and pop hooks.
    Waterdown are only three years removed from their inception, and have thrust forward a modern day amalgam that few bands can capably deliver convincingly enough to warrant either high praise, or another album deal. While the 'emo' tag continues to be attached to many who reach for the punk rock and power pop star, Waterdown - much as Avail and Hot Water Music before them - go the extra musical mile with fully descript AOR tracks that dare to be different.
    The German-based sextet features two vocalists to handle agony and ecstasy on equal an footing - they would be Marcel Bischoff and Ingo Rieser respectively, but irrespective of that is the phenomenal musicianship - long a foregone component of the glut of German performers - that not only contributes to flexible arrangements, but adds the extra technical, tactical component noticeably prevalent in the dual guitar work.

Down the list there's little to languish over, and to call out only three or four particular highlights is a daunting enough task. We can begin with Bulletproof, a surging momentum builder with a fiercely laid guitar part driving an anthemic verse and terse politicizing.
    We'll then turn two tracks down to Xerox, where we're initiated into the soothing fluidity of Bischoff's vocals, which appear regularly, but are most effective on this track and on the penultimate At The Waterfront.
    Disgrace and Nothing make for highly strung mid-tempo sing along, scream your way out of it tracks, while the creeping bassline and haunting melodies of Interrogation offer an engaging contrast.

There's a deep richness and musicality on The Files You Have On Me indicative of progression without pompousness. Divide and slice it however you want; this is a great rock band - like Jimmy Eat World, Sinch, Hot Water Music or Boy Sets Fire - and considering their line-up changes and the usual sophomore slumps, they are all the more impressive on this soon to be benchmark release.

:: Vinnie Apicella

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