The Files You Have On Me (Victory Records)
By: Vinnie Apicella
Looks like Victory scored another one with these guys. 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's 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's only three years removed from their initiation, and has 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 leave a sweaty imprint on the palms of countless hands extending toward the Punk Rock and power Pop star fall, Waterdown, much as have an Avail, or recently Hot Water Music, go the extra musical mile with fully descript AOR tracks that dare to be different and respectful of the other's space. The German-based sextet, which features two vocalists to handle agony and ecstasy on equal footing, they would be Bischoff and Rieser respectively, but irrespective of that is the phenomenal musicianship, long a foregone conclusion to 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 first begin with "Bulletproof," a surging momentum builder for openers, 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 to the soothing fluidity of Bischoff's lamentive style which appears often and again two and four songs later and particularly on the pre-closing "At The Waterfront"; "Disgrace" and "Nothing" make for highly strung mid-tempo sing along, scream your way out of it tracks; "Interrogation" is contrastive with a creeping bassline and haunting melodies. There's richness in depth and musicality indicative of progression without the pomposity or pushcart effects. Divide and slice it however you want, this is a great Rock record - like a Jimmy Eat World, Sinch, or the Hot Water Music, Boy Sets Fire types - and considering their line up changes and the usual sophomore slumps, is all the more impressive for this soon to be benchmark release.
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