The black watch is once more on the march. Come August and for what will be the 17th time in a recording history that stretches back more than 30 years, the Californian rock band will release a full-length album. Magic Johnson, as its title suggests, pays tribute to the Los Angeles Lakers’ legend. It was inspired by a chance encounter between the former basketball star and John Andrew Fredrick, the black watch mainman and only constant in what has been a long, prolific and fascinating career that has seen the band have more than a dozen line-up changes and signed-up to nearly as many different record labels.
To herald the arrival of Magic Johnson, the black watch have unveiled the record’s opening track and lead single, ‘Mad’. A joyful, sun-kissed gem of a song, Fredrick has described the album from which it is taken as “a quintessentially LA record”. On this first evidence, though, you could quite easily be mistaken by the sheer Englishness of its sound, and the parallels that could be just as easily drawn with this country’s The House of Love, Cud or even Half Man Half Biscuit.
Either way, you can’t get away from the fact that even after all this time John Andrew Fredrick is still a mighty fine songwriter and ‘Mad’ is a mighty fine song.
Magic Johnson is released in the UK through Atom records on the 8th of August 2019.