The Walls - Stop The Lights
Words: Louise Bruton
The Walls' third album, Stop The Lights, took seven years to make and in that time, Irish music has had a facelift so much so that it is practically unrecognisable from the early noughties when Steve and Joe Wall's band were pillars in the bearded-lads-with-guitars scene.
Their previous album, New Dawn Breaking, was a landmark album and the single 'The Bright And Shining Sun' probably featured as a musical highlight in 2001's Reeling In The Years. Sadly, this album won't reap the same benefits. While they perfectly acknowledge the change in Irish society, they didn't acknowledge the change in music. There is stiffer competition now in the uber-talented Irish music scene and to come back with guns mildly blazing will not bode well for attracting new fans.
They take a reflective route on this album, practically biographical, as they wax lyrical over the trials and tribulations of becoming fully-functioning adults and the effects of that scamp, the Celtic Tiger in tracks like 'It Goes Without Saying'. The title track and lead single, 'Stop The Lights', takes a more positive spin as it encourages you to make the best out of a bad situation and this philosophy could be applied to 'Bird In A Cage'. It tackles the big move from a city to the quiet Clare town of Ennistymon when the brothers were wee. But, for small mercies, if they hadn't moved out Wesht, then the band that brought them initial success, The Stunning, would never have been borne.
The Walls have a distinct sound - one they will never shake off which is important for their existing fanbase. However, if they moved with the times that they so sharply analyse in Stop The Lights, then we would have heard something more gutsy rather than familiar on this album's offerings.
Review by entertainment.ie | 18:31 | Tuesday 8th May 2012 | Album Review
You always know a half-arsed review when most of the review is non album related. She's only mentioned 3 out of 11 tracks. This is lazy journalism. This album is amazing!Posted 21:52 | Tue 8th May 2012
I completely agree, this album is now one of my all time favourites,and after listening to the entire album once i knew i was going to end up repeating that. whoever wrote that review clearly hasn't spent any time actually listening to the album, such a pity cos they have missed out big time!! from start to finish i thought this album was amazing, while retaining their sound they've managed to modernize it and make it relevant to the current irish feeling. This album his notes inside that i forgot existed. yes exactly, 3 tracks out of 11 hardly makes for an informed judgement, and to be honest those 3 songs are great but there are also more great songs on the album. I am grateful that The Walls released this album. so thank youPosted 13:57 | Wed 9th May 2012
Firstly, I'm not a Walls fan. I prefer my music heavier and gritty, but after hearing this album....from START to FINISH I might ad....I can say with my hand on my heart that this is the best Irish album I have ever heard, without a doubt. I'm not claiming to have heard every Irish album ever made, but I've heard more than a few and this wipes the floor 10 times over with anything else that I have heard!! Stop the Lights is a breath of fresh air in the sea of stale festering crap that is our airwaves. "The Walls have a distinct sound - one they will never shake off"....for real??? The 1st thing that struck me was the fact that it DOESN'T sound like a typical Irish album, or certainly one I've ever heard before. Unfortunately 99% of anything produced here has the same sound, but this is fresh and juicy! I really can't get enough of this album and 100% of the people I've played it for are genuinely blown away!! The production is fantastic but the tracks are outstanding and they appeal to all, you can't help but love this album!! Seriously!! I think that this album can easily hold its own globally and not just here at home and I urge everyone to have a listen and tell me I'm wrong. Stop the Lights is definitely the feel good album of the summer. Put it on, turn it up and let the sun shine!! Well done lads, a genuinely outstanding piece of work and I have no doubt that it will get the recognition that it deserves, the cream always rises to the top!!!Posted 14:37 | Wed 9th May 2012
for whats its worth, I think its an absolute gem of an album from start to finish. 'Gutsy' in a review almost grinds my gears as much as a reviewer who 'needs to be challenged' by music...Gutsy, what on gods green earth does that mean? Ray Davies releasing a dubstep album? Therapy reworking Troublegum using Harp arrangments? The Walls do what they do best, write beautiful, heartfelt melodic songs. Theres no BS with them, just fine fine music. Each to their own and everyones opinion is as valid as the next, but the review above is more than a little unfair I'd say. Give the album another few spins and tell me you resisted falling in love with it...dare ye! ;-) Sir PeterPosted 10:42 | Thu 10th May 2012
another review over on the English site Louder Than War that's slightly more insightful: 'Stop the Lights' – The Walls 2012 Every so often an album comes along that lights up my usual mundane existence........ The third long play 'Stop the Lights' from Irish Indie troubadours 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' 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 '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' has the melody and lick Sir Paul McCartney has been searching 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 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. 9/10 _SDPosted 10:48 | Thu 10th May 2012
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