Album review: WKW (WATSON, KERCHEVAL, WATSON) – Men Of Steel

WKW Music [Release date - Out Now]

WKW is a collaboration between the two Big Country mainstays, Bruce and Jamie Watson, and Thomas Kercheval. Kercheval is an Emmy winning documentary editor, independent musician and longtime Big Country fan. He ran an online BC fan blog and happened to suggest to Bruce that they should do something together, not really expecting a response. However, Bruce sent him two part-written songs to finish and this album is the fruits of their collective labours.

The album opens with ‘Edison’s Last Stand’ which originally appeared on Bruce and Jamie’s album ‘Another Anthem For The Damned’ and sounds like the middle ground between Big Country and The Skids. Kercheval handles the lead vocals throughout and adds a bit of punk attitude to the proceedings which suits the music well.

The album also features songs previously released on the trio’s EP ‘Hands Across The Ocean’ along with some choice Big Country tracks. A rocking version of the folk standard ‘Killiecrankie’ rocks along on a wave of great guitar work from father and son whilst ‘Seven Swords’ contains a great riff and an urgent vocal delivery.

The two tracks featured written by the late Stuart Adamson are real gems and show both sides of the man’s writing talents. The aptly titled ‘Troubled Man’ is a slower, darker song in a similar vein to the Big Country classic ‘Chance’. ‘Nationwide’ however grabs you by the throat and takes no prisoners. It’s a full on punk rock workout with a social message that could cause mayhem in the crowd when played live.

Of the other tracks featured the stand out for me is ‘Smoulder’ which builds slowly and comes in with a climactic ending again with the Watson twin guitars to the fore. ‘Lay The Coin’ rounds things off with a bit of a Stranglers vibe in parts and a change of pace mid song which keeps things interesting.

It has been a while since the Watsons, or indeed Big Country, have released any new material and this album is a welcome return of sorts. The collaboration with Thomas Kercheval has proved to be a fruitful one and hopefully they may do some live dates in support of the release, now that would be a good night out!  ****

Review by Dave Wilson

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 1 August 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at for that week and an interview with “metal queen” Lee Aaron.

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