sat 19/10/2019

CD: Wallis Bird - Architect | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Wallis Bird - Architect

CD: Wallis Bird - Architect

Irish songbird embraces the unexpected on genre-bending fourth album

Wallis Bird: flitting between styles with nothing but a guitar and her raggedly bluesy voice

The ease with which Wallis Bird can flit between genres armed with nothing but a guitar and her warm, raggedly bluesy voice has been apparent since at the very least her 2012 self-titled third album. Even still, those of us who fell for that album’s considerable charms could hardly have expected its architect to celebrate a move to Berlin by going full-on Eurodisco.

It’s an acquired taste, the throbbingly incessant disco beat that punctuates “Hardly Hardly”, the opening track - and first single - from Architect from about four bars in, but the multiple Irish Meteor winner Bird has never been one to let expectation force her creative choices. By the time the song’s naggingly infectious chorus arrives, powered by Bird’s full-throated holler, its authorship is unmistakable - even if its sound is about as far removed as it’s possible to be from some of the delicate, introspective compositions that will later bring the album to a close.

If Architect is, sonically, a tangle of contradictions, the playfully gender-bending “I Can Be Your Man” is its lyrical equivalent, on which Bird pouts and whoops on top of a slick, sensuous beat reminiscent of Beyoncé’s recent, more experimental forays (seriously). That it nestles in between the album’s dance-orientated opener and “Daze”, a more traditional rocker, comes across almost as a practical joke because it’s after this point that the album opens up to reveal the artist’s emotional core. “The Cards” is a powerful mid-point; verses barely more than guitar and whispered vocals, read like a diary or therapy notes, before its huge, defiant, “we are young and we are partially free” mid-section. Closing tracks “Hammering” and “River of Paper” again find the artist in reflective mode; the former in particular is a clever composition which uses a background of found sound and repetitive lyrics to mimic either the sound of a heartbeat or a breakdown.

Overleaf: watch the video for "Hardly Hardly"

Bird has never been one to let expectation force her creative choices


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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