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.