Label: SUMO :: MCA
McLaren Furnace Room is the first major label album by The Watchmen. Originally released by SUMO Productions in Canada in 1992 (with the help of MCA Records), the release impressed MCA Records Canada who signed the band and released the album in 1993 on a much wider scale. The title of the album refers to the basement of the McLaren Hotel that served as the band's rehearsal studio. The album was certified Gold in Canada by the Canadian Recording Industry Association on March 6, 1996. Known as a tireless touring band, they reportedly played 150 shows a year across Canada from 1987 to 1991. A show in Toronto at the Horseshoe Tavern in 1991 caught the attention of producer Chris Wardman's girlfriend. She promised to put Wardman in touch with the band. Wardman eventually made it out to one of their shows and promised them a production commitment. Jake Gold's The Management Trust signed them to a management deal and his music production outfit SUMO Productions. Using their clout with MCA Records, SUMO was able to release the band's debut McLaren Furnace Room in 1992. The band then signed directly to MCA Records Canada. At this time in the band's history, the principle songwriter was guitarist Joey Serlin.
A video for the lead single " cracked"="" was="" filmed="" and="" released="" in="" 1992="" while="" a="" video="" for="" the="" second="" single="" "run="" &="" hide"="" 1993.="" both="" videos="" saw="" modest="" play="" on="" muchmusic.="" McLarenFurnaceRoom Review AMG (All Music Guide)
The first half of McLarenFurnaceRoom (referring to the McLaren Hotel in downtown Winnipeg) delivers heavily rhythmic, sinewy guitar-driven rock.
Producer Chris Wardman pulls off a neat coup in working Danny Greaves' commanding lead vocals to the forefront of the mix without sacrificing any of the instrumental muscle. But the real revelation comes from the disc's second half, featuring several rock-solid pop tunes and some of guitarist Joey Serlin's most thoughtful lyrics. In particular, "Mister" and "Anything But That" marry great melodies to devastating stories of abuse and family breakdown. It's quite a risk burying songs this good so deep into the recording, but the strategy works in terms of building to a fever intensity for the raging closer "Make You Go Down."
~ Roch Parisien, All Music Guide