Walls - Walls

by Rich Morris Rating:2 Release Date:2010-04-26

Walls is, unbelievably, the debut album from London based electro-dance-pop-rock-anythingelseyouwant duo Walls. And no, it's not a very imaginative album title. At this point it'd be fantastic to launch into a glorifying, appraising review about how the album defies this first impression with tracks that are innovative, exciting, that bridge a gap between contrasting styles of music and provoke serious thought about the distinction between musical styles. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

The album definitely is what's commonly known as a 'grower'. After a few listens the more intricate parts of the music start to make themselves a bit clearer, and the atmospheric synth work begins to gel nicely with some thought-out guitar work. But this is only after overcoming the utter bewilderment and confusion of the first few listens. Upon first listen, the immediate question is simply: what is this?

The album is an eight-track mix of synthesizers, reverb-laden guitar and drum machines, with the odd xylophone thrown in for extra effect. It is also, however, an eight track example of why being overly-ambitious is a disastrous thing. The London based duo claimed that 'It's easy to make noisy and difficult music, what's harder, and feels natural to us is to make music that skates along the edges'. They seem, however, to have missed the edges entirely, and gone skating off into realms of electronic music that remain fairly uncommon to the average listener. It's an odd blend of sampled-sounds and noise that aims for so much, and yet achieves so little.

The album's first track, 'Burnt Sienna', begins sounding like a dramatic intro to an Angels and Airwaves track, and ends up simply hitting a point of anticlimactical no return, after which the sound effects are layered on and the song simply peters into a slow and painful fade-out. The rest of the album follows suit, and before long the exasperated sighing and frustrated finger-drumming are louder, and have caught more attention, than the songs themselves.

The album, then, is an apparent effort to bridge a gap between different styles of music, an attempt to create electronic music that incorporates the usual electro-stuff with rock/pop elements, melodies and chord progressions. And at points, the synths move from one chord to another in a way that does create an atmosphere, and the guitars do highlight and ornament the chord progressions in just the right places. These points, though, are rare. The album, as a whole, sounds more like an excitable child has just opened Garageband on his first mac and decided to test all the funny effects and sounds he can use. The album is a long way from a musical revolution, and at present, a long way off from sounding like anything more than a headache.

Perhaps with some experience and maturing, the duo can find their feet and produce a good, challenging album. This one, however, full of scattered sounds and back-bedroom-mixing, just wasn't it.

Conlan Day

Overall Rating (0)

0 out of 5 stars