Review of Wallis Bird's album New Boots
Since her 2007 album Spoons, Irish singer songwriter Wallis Bird has struggled to get her music across to a wider audience. That was until The Sun newspaper of all people, used her cover of Depeche Mode's Just Cant Get Enough in one of their adverts. The track was so well received that the singer was inundated with requests to release it. From that much needed mainstream exposure, she returns with a new album in the form of New Boots.
What's most notable from a first listen of New Boots, is the incredible strength of Wallis birds vocals. Can Opener kicks into life with heavy weighted power chords and looping drums but her voice isn't overawed by the surroundings. Instead of being flooded by the instruments, she rises above them and delivers the type of fiery vocal that's required for this brand of bluesy rock n roll.
From the KT Tunstall Rockiness of Can Opener, Wallis Bird moves quickly to show us that she's more than just a collection of power chords. To My Bones is a Cranberries sounding acoustic jaunt that floats along perfectly with the joyful lyrics 'Oh life I love you to my bones' is repeated with passion. Her Irish roots are worn on the sleeve for Meal of Convenience. Sounding like it was recorded in a Dublin pub, it captures Wallis Birds voice at its barest thanks to a striped down production.
It's somewhat odd that an album that starts off so rock and dripping in electric guitars should switch to an acoustic folk album for most of its middle. As enjoyable as it is, it's with gladness that the tempo is raised on single material An Idea About Mary. With a powerful chorus 'Oh love I've got plenty I'm so empty, who am I, tell me who I'm gonna be' sang over a pop tinged guitar riff, it's a track that you could imagine getting a fair amount of radio play.
Before the album closes, there is still time for a surprise in the shape of Berlin. A track that features some interesting production, such as Paul McCartney's Frog Chorus chanting and helpings of organ playing, it nominates itself as the strangest thing on the New Boots.
New Boots is an album that can't really be tied down to one particular genre. It floats from Rock to blues to folk and back again, continuously reinventing itself, track by track. It's this inconsistency that holds it back but at the same time keeps it interesting.
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