Fugu, formerly known as Poster Child but whose real name is Enzo Tiano, has crafted a commendable collection of songs all centralized around a vaguely discernible sci-fi theme. There’s space exploration, time travelling, existentialism- on paper, the whole thing feels like it’s going to be fantastic on some grand epic scale. Yet, Watchers frequently feels at odds with itself. There are moments when tracks need to blast off across the galaxy, but Tiano seems reluctant to release his music from its more laid-back confines. And while tunes like “Prophecies (I Don’t Mind)” and “Night Runner” thematically deliver on every level, the album too often grooves when it should soar. And as a result, despite the music’s technical proficiency, its tone occasionally feels disconnected. Imagine if Toro Y Moi remade an M83 album- or vice versa- and the main detriment of Watchers becomes abundantly clear. The listener wants to lap these songs up as chillwave, yet Tiano’s conceptual choices are too intermittently polarizing. Furthermore, this inherently low-key nature also prohibits the album from fully realizing any of its grandiose, sonic gestures. Simply put, the aspirations do not match the execution- rendering Watchers easy enough to like, but an alarmingly difficult album to lose oneself in.
- Fr. Jones