In the Post #17: Richard Walters – The Animal

By on Friday, 14th August 2009 at 12:00 pm

Richard Walters (side)When I interviewed Richard Walters a couple of weeks ago, I thought that he was a great talent. However, I had a niggling feeling in the back of my head that his debut full length would be a letdown, a mish-mash of cliché’s that are half-hashed to make an album that’s perfectly acceptable but not brilliant.

I was wrong.

“The Animal” is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s an animal – vulnerable, has its good spots and its bad spots, but you love it nonetheless. He has managed to produce ten tracks that perfectly channel his “heartbroken choirboy” sound.

It’s simple, sparse, many of the songs featuring Walters on the piano or guitar with little backing. It’s how it should be – treading the path many (Tom McRae, Jeff Buckley etc) have trodden, and doing it well. The title track is a personal highlight, building slowly, helpless and aching and beautiful. Perfect for that scene in the movie when she leaves him, it’s raining, thunderstorms, and the guy breaks down sobbing slowly. Haunting, yet still quite beautiful.

The downside? It is certainly not a “happy” album in any sense of the word – not an upbeat album to play on the way to work. Oh, and at times Walters is prone to over-do the wailing / “oh”‘s / “ooooh”‘s (see “Weather Song” and “We Have Your Head”), but I only noticed after a few listens.

Other than that, it’s a promising debut – he’s managed to create a consistently good album that is not going to set the world on fire with its innovation but definitely one to treasure – and not tell your friends about, in case your little golden find does a James Blunt on us.

Richard Walters’ debut album, “The Animal” is released on 21st September 2009.

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