Label: Bird Records/Kaiserlich Koeniglich/Karakter Worldwide
Review by Alessandra Cognetta
“Architect” is the fourth studio album by Irish artist Wallis Bird. Wallis is the architect of her new work, but we are architects as well. The lyrical purpose of Wallis‘s music is to make us realize that we are the architects of our own lives and that it’s up to each one of us to “design” them. But the greatest innovation that Wallis brings with “Architect” is the completely renovated sound, influenced by her experiences in London and, most importantly, in Berlin. Wallis left the pop/rock and acoustic sounds of her previous albums, without discarding it completely, and kept the essential elements of her music. The result is an album with catchy tunes but with original cues.
“Architect” is opened by the groovy rhythms of the first single, “Hardly Hardly”. “Daze” is a reminder of the older works, but with a completely new energy, followed by the calmer, uplifting “Holding a Light”, whose crescendo makes it one of the best tracks and a personal favourite. From here onwards that kind of description becomes redundant, because, honestly, each track is unique and it’s hard to pinpoint a highlight song. “The Cards” is another great piece that showcases Wallis Bird‘s passionate voice and her ability to convey a wide range of emotions with incredible energy. “Communion” combines a nice bass line with the vocals, an up-beat song with a catchy chorus. “Gloria” is a nice experiment from the point of view of musical arrangement and leads us to “Hammering”, probably the best track in all of “Architect”, where Wallis‘s voice and acoustic guitar really get to shine and prove to be what binds the whole album together like a read thread. The last song is “River of Paper”, that starts off as an intimate monologue by the artist, a feeling particularly enhanced by the effects on the voice recording that make it sound both near and remote and give it a home studio vibe, which really fits the tone of the song. Wallis‘s voice soars with great dramatic power at the end, before the “Architect” literally closes the door on us.
This album feels like a classic with refreshing arrangements and brings a much needed original input to the industry. Each song is a well-crafted acoustic piece but also, potentially, an experimental track that can’t be revealed beforehand, but has to be enjoyed while it unfolds for the listener. This is why it’s almost unfair to overly describe the album or to encage it in this or that genre’s borders. “Architect” is both change and tradition, a surprise you don’t want to miss.
Rating – 83/100
- Hardly Hardly
- I Can Be Your Nan
- Holding a Kight
- The Cards
- River of Paper