Billy Talent
Watoosh!


3.0
good

Review

by Pedro B. USER (303 Reviews)
April 13th, 2010 | 13 replies


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Some of the Talent is already there, but the songwriting falters.

Billy Talent. Who doesn’t love them!? Here is a band that manages to innovate while keeping their music incredibly fun and sprightly (well, if we don’t count the turgid III) and their formation cohesive. Authors of such catchy hooks as those in Red Flag, Fallen Leaves, Standing In The Rain, Line and Sinker and many more, the Canadian four-piece deservedly achieved fame and fortune, becoming one of the most worthwhile names in the contemporary rock scene.

But what few people know is that this band actually had a career before Billy Talent I. Back then, they were called Pezz, and their sound was still in the formative stages, displaying some of the characteristics that would make the band’s later sound, but also showcasing some shortcomings which keep their “real” debut album, 1998’s Watoosh!, from joining I and II in the big leagues of emotional punk rock.

The most serious of these shortcomings is the lack of choruses, followed by the repetitiveness which affects about half the album. The songs on Watoosh! are a far cry from the pervasive, perma-sticking hooks of II, instead relying on what I like to call the group’s “waltz-punk” side. Most of the tracks move along at a leisurely slow tempo, driven by Jon Gallant’s bouncy, intervening bass. In fact, Gallant may well be the standout of the album, even though Billy Talent’s trademarks – Ian D’Sa’s playful guitar leads and Bem Kowalewicz’s schizoid vocals – are already present and accounted for. The bassist’s performance recalls a scaled-down version of those Mike Dirnt put on back when he still cared to show that he could play bass (on albums like Dookie and Insomniac) and is often the only thing that keeps us interested.

Unsurprisingly, it’s the punkier tracks that constitute the best moments on here. Fairytale is an early standout, and Tragically Hip cover New Orleans Is Sinking is simply the best song on the album. Elsewhere, this formula fails to capture our attention, but in general, the rockier songs beat the more melancholy songs through and through. Which isn’t to say that there are no redeeming features to that side of the album: Kowalewicz’s lunatic ravings on Nita raise a chuckle, both for the delivery and for the actual lyrical content, and a few other songs have good bits, like a sweet chorus, a dub jam section or a fun speed-up towards the end. However, a tendency to repeat formulas – unimaginable in later Billy Talent – and a certain inability to stop when they’re ahead (as evidenced by Mother’s Native Instrument) end up detracting from what is essentially a promising debut, keeping it from being as seminal as the group’s later output.

Still, if you’re a Billy Talent fan and want to hear the earlier, simpler version of your favorite band’s sound, there’s no harm in giving this a try. Just don’t set your hopes too high, and remember that the band who recorded Watoosh! still had a long way to go before becoming what they would be later. Half the Talent, however, was already there.

Recommended Tracks
Fairytale
New Orleans Is Sinking



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user ratings (86)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
ReturnToRock
April 13th 2010


3448 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Not my most inspired review, I know. I've just been in a mood of not knowing what to review/not really feeling like reviewing anything...maybe it's the post-KISS exhaustion finally hitting, who knows?

Anyway...sorry for the crappy write-up, and I'll be back with something better next time (I hope...)

asaf
April 13th 2010


889 Comments


sputnik users have this need to tell the readers about the entire history of the band in a whitty three sentence paragraph, knowing full well that the review is going to be too short without it. I'm just as equally to blame!


you did go on a kiss blowout btw, and your recent gene simmons review was absolute mint. i was laughing in my chair at the office.

good read. never been a big fan of this though...

ButcheredChildren
April 13th 2010


5590 Comments


THIS ALBUM IS UNDER THE NAME "PEZZ"

WatchItExplode
April 14th 2010


3316 Comments


So these guys are supposed to release IV pretty soon...

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2010


28838 Comments


autopos for being the fucking man and reviewing this

Digging: Charli XCX - Sucker

dart200
September 9th 2010


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I wholly disagree with this review. Billy Talent kinda went downhill from here on out. This album just had so much more quirky fun, which made it so much memorable to me. The other albums just never quite hit the spot.

I'm not sure how you can claim this album more repetitive than the rest. The rest of the albums are just plain pop-punk. Nothing more. This album blends way to much to be strictly pop-punk. I really wish they'd stuck more with this art punk/post punk style, and developed in that direction.

Sciroccu
December 12th 2010


797 Comments


lol, but what's that ?

TrantaLocked
August 23rd 2011


1624 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I want to get into this. Any one notice this is more like ska/rock?

MutnikSpusic
August 24th 2011


560 Comments


this record

Megadeth
August 24th 2011


935 Comments


funny

TrantaLocked
August 24th 2011


1624 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree with X3 on When I Was a Little Girl. If that song were in Billy Talent I it would still hold
up and be one of my favorites.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2013


20859 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Before they became Billy Talent, the Canadian quartet were Pezz... And their debut LP 'Watoosh!' explores the outfit's original ska influenced style of punk. Re-released in 2005, this is not as catchy as their later work, while Ben Kowalewicz's vocals will still be the decisive factor for many. The raw production is a two-edged sword, as are the immature - if occasionally humorous - lyrics, but ultimately this is a curiously satisfying combination of youthful abandon & tight, talented musicianship. At the very least, it's an interesting listen that is recommended for Billy Talent fans. Recommended Tracks: Fairytale, M & M, Square Root of Me & Absorbed.

Pheromone
October 7th 2013


3863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The song Nita is basically a huge copy of I've Been Tired (by Pixies)

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