There are times when trying to listen to a new album can be difficult. Life gets in the way, one needs to be in the right headspace to let it in. With a couple of long train journeys imminent, The Walls’ new album ‘Stop The Lights’, made its way to my iPod. With nothing else to distract me, I put on my headphones and pressed play.
The Walls aren’t known to be the most prolific of bands, it’s been seven years since the release of ‘New Dawn Breaking’ but respect for the Wall brothers Steve and Joe’s talents hasn’t and shouldn’t wane. As the album begins with ‘Bird in a Cage’, their storytelling ability is most evident. Snippets of life packed into three minute bursts and though some of these snippets tell of life’s tough stories, they are also somehow uplifting. ‘It Goes Without Saying’ holds a mirror to Irish society, yes, we had it all but look at what we have now. To many, these could be depressing but the style of words and instrumentation turn these into positive twists. Hard to do, but they’ve done it.
If one was to chronicle influential Irish bands of the late 20th Century/21st Century, The Walls and the brothers’ previous band, The Stunning, would have to get a mention more than once. What’s interesting with ‘Stop The Lights’ is that we can hear other influences you wouldn’t expect. At one point, Steve Wall seems to have a Bob Dylan influence while ‘Dead Flowers’ has a beat that The Naked and Famous would be delighted to possess. Despite their vintage, The Walls are still exploring and are all the better for it.
‘Stop The Lights’ looks back through words but looks forward with positive instrumentation and a sense of hope. This album will out live my train journey, it will be with me for a long time to come. Three albums in twelve years isn’t a whole lot but if they are like this one, I’m more than willing to wait, impressive stuff.