Walking Papers – ‘WP2’ (Loud & Proud Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Jonni D   
Friday, 19 January 2018 04:40

Walking Papers artworkHang on a minute… this is 2018, right?  Good, just checking.

 

As Walking Paper’s sophomore release kicks off with the deliciously prominent low end of ‘My Luck Pushed Back’, you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise.  The passion project of The Missionary Position’s Jeff Angell (vocals/guitar) and Screaming Trees’ Barrett Martin (drums), the band is truly a love letter to the lo-fi blues hard rock of the ‘60s and ‘70s.   Having acquired the bass talents of a certain Duff McKagan for their debut record, the line-up is now completed by Benjamin Anderson, of The Missionary Position, on keyboards.  And – well, it’s pretty much more of the same.

 

Not that that’s a bad thing, of course.  As with the first record, the beauty of ‘WP2’ lies in the delightfully unconvoluted songwriting, unhampered by the bastardization of overzealous studio trickery.  Jack Endino and Martin Feveyear’s production marries the rawness of their involvement with the Seattle grunge and alternative movements, with the serpentinian swagger of everyone from The Rolling Stones to The Doors. 

 

Speaking of which, the subtle electricity of Jeff Angell’s sultry delivery more than hints at that of Jim Morrison, be it on the gospel stylings of ‘Death On The Lips’ or the slightly sinister overtones of ‘Somebody Else.’  It’s a lofty comparison, but there’s a certain unquantifiable and subdued coolness to his vocals that demands the connection.  His standout performance, however, comes with his mournful plea for the downtrodden on ‘Don’t Owe Me Nothin.’  Hugely reminiscent of Leadbelly, it’s probably the least impressive moment musically speaking on the album, but is undeniably it’s most emotionally resonant.

 

Musically speaking, Walking Papers stick to the sparsely arranged throwback feel throughout ‘WP2.’  For the most part, these songs adhere to the bare minimum requisite components, with Duff’s mellifluous and meandering bass lines being about as technical as the album gets.  However, Jeff Angell does allow himself a few guitar hero moments; ‘Somebody Else’ bears a helter skelter of a riff that will have Jack White kicking himself, while ‘Hard To Look Away’’s solo is what bedroom mirrors were designed for, eschewing flashiness and instead making sure every considered note is a punch to the chest.  New recruit, Benjamin Anderson, also shows himself to be a player who adheres to the demands of the song rather than his ego; his keys are not always particularly prominent, but his melodies on ‘Somebody Else’ and ‘Yours Completely’ are all the more memorable for this economical approach to songwriting. 

 

 

However, at over an hour with very little variation in style throughout the tracklist, ‘WP2’ is a bit of a slog to get through from start to finish.  With many of these songs hitting the five-minute mark, they tend to languish as the band gets a little too self-indulgent with just how much fun they’re having playing the material.  At it best points though, ‘WP2’ oozes with a relaxed confidence, and occasionally perfects the retro rock style that Foo Fighters attempted with ‘Concrete and Gold’, but easily could have lost two or three songs for maximum impact.

 

‘WP2’ is released today (Friday 19 January).  You can get your copy HERE.

 

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