New album: Walker Brigade || If Only

Walker Brigade’s biography raises as much questions as it provides answers. For example: How does it take a band that’s been “serving up anthemic despair with savoir faire since 2014” eight years to finally release their debut full-length? And how did Walker Brigade end up on a first ballot for the Grammy Awards before even releasing an album? But mostly: how did a band this good remain hidden for so long? Well the secret is out now. It’s called If Only, and it’s an exciting compilation of new material, the out-of-print debut mini-album Therapy Animal, and a significant amount of bonus material including alternate versions and cover songs.

How to describe the sound of Walker Brigade? Essentially, this is rock’n’roll, but with an artsy post punky kind of vibe. The band cites X, X-Ray Spex, The Soft Boys, Mission of Burma as their influences. The band also covers songs by Wire (Sand In My Joints), Mel Brooks (I’m Tired as originally performed by Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles), The Soft Boys (I Wanna Destroy You and Rock ‘n’ Roll Toilet) and The Only Ones (Lovers Of Today) – the latter two included as bonus tracks. If you give Walker Brigade the attention they deserve, you’ll find a lot of additional influences as well. In that sense, If Only is the next best thing to time travel for those wanting to experience rock’n’roll history.

But at no point those associations with past bands become a distraction. The songwriting is just too skilled, the execution too good, and with the production unpolished yet crisp, the strong melodies are memorable and  superfluous. Listen to openers Fallout and Disease for example, or the short and catchy What Is Wrong With Me? Another highlight is Tower, how can you not fall for that chorus?

I am finding new things to like about this record with each play, and feel like I’ve only scratched the surface. If Only is out on CD through Big Stir Records. It may very well be the label’s best release yet.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Big Stir Records

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