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Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Walker Brigade - If Only


Los Angeles quartet Walker Brigade have a dual male and female lead vocal in common with Big Stir label mates, The Armoires. That is where the similarity ends as the band are the most raucous outfit on the label, wonderfully so.

The vibe is very late 70s / early 80s Garage Rock with hints of both Punk and early New Wave. Very American, maybe CBGB's. I'm reminded of The Breeders at times, but the difference to comparable bands of this ilk is both the humour and inventiveness. They can also play.

Guitarist, Tracy Walker takes on the majority of the vocals and comes across a little Patti Smith or Siouxsie at times, but is a much stronger vocalist. Jeff Charreaux adds a pop sensibility at times. If Only is urgent and chaotic in a fist shaking way, but songs never lose sight of what they are about.

The pure adrenaline of No. the 60's UFO club vibe of Don't Sell Out (For Free) and What Is Wrong With Me is The Armoires on speed. One of my favourite songs over the past couple of years is Tower, which sounds as though it is recorded by a different band. It is a wonderful Psych Pop adventure with the emphasis on Pop.

The opener Fallout is an immense four minute opener which underlines the skill set of the band and gives a glimpse of what is to come. Then there is the humour an inspired version of I'm Tired from Blazing Saddles. Not done in Madeline Kahn's Marlena Dietrich style, although pretty faithful until a rocked up chorus.

There are six bonus tracks that included inspired versions of The Soft Boys' I Wanna Destroy You and The Only Ones' Lovers Of Today. There is also a hidden track, Rock n Roll Toilet which starts with an I Don't Hear A Single Station ID from the band which was unexpected and humbling inclusion. Walker Brigade are not a band that you would normally associate with Big Stir, but that is the wonder of the label and the band.

You can listen to and buy the album here and here.


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