Every so often an album comes along that makes you fall in love with music all over again.
The third long play ‘Stop the Lights’ from Irish Indie legends The Walls is such an album. A highly anticipated release following on from the critical acclaimed 2001’s Hi-Lo, an album which included the outrageously great ‘Bone Deep’ and 2004’s ‘New Dawn Breaking’.
‘Stop The Lights’ is a musical tapestry of interwoven, layers and an abundance of magical textures. I stopped counting the amount of instruments that went into the making of this album, such was the array.
Album opener, the autobiographical ‘Bird In a Cage’ (stream above) set’s the bar high. A four minute masterpiece awash with melody, hooks and licks, telling the story of a couple of young countrymen , the Wall brothers, moving to the big city. How such a move, that you have no control over, with its emotional challenges, its sheer magnitude, changes and shapes a person.
In the emotional charged ‘Phantom Power’, Joe Wall tells us how he ‘stood there frozen on the shoreline, watching the world around me swim’, the heartache subsides with the call ‘not gonna give up, this is the start’.
The Great Escape’s message of roads less travelled with its heavy melancholic string arrangement stops you in your tracks. A perfect mix of synth loops interspersed with a ‘National-esque’ hypnotic drum groove.
Current single ‘It Goes Without Saying’ (stream above) has the melody and lick Sir Paul McCartney has been searching for for two decades. “you had it all not so long ago” sings Steve Wall. Indeed, the Walls previous incarnation, The Stunning, a hugely popular Irish indie rock band, stood on the cusp back in the 90’s. Heartache returns in the stripped down acoustic ‘All a Blur’, a reflective Wall tells of the love that got away. Reflection is the order of the day in contemplative ‘Thanks for the Photographs’. A life story of photographic stills beautifully brought to life in song. Bass- driven ‘Carrying The Fire’, the snyth and guitar hungry ‘Dead Flowers all bring their own unique slant to the mix.
Stop The Lights, seven years in the making, but worth the wait? Very much so. An ambitious record with countless layers and textures, so lovingly created (the art work is beautiful), that truly reaffirms the belief that great long plays are still being written and produced…sublime.
All words Sig Doherty.
The album can be listened to in full or bought from The Walls bandcamp page here.