‘Theatre Of War’ is the exciting debut album by The Evening Watch. The album is written and performed almost entirely by Andrew Cooke. Using a wide range of instruments including banjo and glockenspiel, while also incorporating electronic sounds, ‘Theatre Of War’ manages to sound relaxed and peaceful, with just enough power and energy to prevent the album from becoming drab and boring.
Now I’m Gone, the opening track, immediately grabs your attention. Straight away you’re hit with an intense electronic effect, joined by a sinister piano and bass combo. Then Cooke starts singing in a warm tone that acts like a reassuring arm on your shoulder to guide you through the weird but wonderful soundscape.
It’s only on Hunter’s Moon, sung by Dermot O’Leary rather than Cooke, that displays Cooke’s ability to produce fabulous choruses. The chorus of Make A Wish utilises a brilliant banjo riff that develops into an exciting guitar solo, while Cooke’s vocals wrap themselves around you like a warm blanket. Sever The Weak is the stand out track; a beautiful, piano riff echoes mournfully with drums, bass and synths adding real depth and power to the song.
If there’s one fault with ‘Theatre Of War’ it would be the slow and uninteresting verses that feature on several tracks. Pomerania is a dull and lifeless song that isn’t going anywhere until Cooke drastically changes direction with a heart-warming chorus. Carriage too falls victim of an uninteresting verse, until a soaring guitar riff lights up the song. It seems that often the verse’s sole purpose is to create an atmosphere that best compliments the magnificent chorus that follows.
‘Theatre Of War’ is a highly impressive album that establishes Cooke as an excellent songwriter. The sheer amount of different instruments used throughout means ‘Theatre Of War’ is an album that keeps on giving right to the very end, with the truly tremendous choruses more than compensating for the drab verses.