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Wallis Bird – Architect

Lisa Ward

Triangle

Opening track of Architect Hardly Hardly feels a bit like something P!nk might have added to Can’t Take Me Home, fused over a club beat. It’s here that Wallis’ vocals shine out, their earthy texture combining with emotive sounds. It’s a song which also seems to highlight the influence of her new home in Berlin, carrying a more European styling. Nevertheless as this moves into I Can Be Your Man it becomes clear that there’s a desire to play with sounds, the opening feeling stripped back before moving into a more bass heavy sound.

Elsewhere Communion seems to cross the line into the abyss of madness. Whilst it feels like more of a standard Wallis track when it opens this quickly slides into the chorus, which sounds like an 80’s radio jingle. That’s not a criticism, in fact the slightly unorthodox styling simply serves to confirm her originality and ability to step out from what a more predictable album might have offered. Long term fans will be relieved to find her roots are not forgotten however, the acoustic River of Paper closing the album. Here, the mixing is such that it allows you to hear each movement of her hand on the guitar, allowing the listener to feel as if Wallis is just across the room.

Nevertheless for me it’s Daze which acts as the highlight of the album and it’s more rocky vibe makes it a perfect summer track. It carries with it a sense of urgency, whilst being fuelled by solid lyrics and a catchy chorus. Meanwhile Hammering is perhaps the most inventive number, the layering of sounds creating a somewhat unnerving effect at the start and end of the track, before moving into an acoustic guitar heavy offering in the middle. It’s here the lyrical depth can be found and as she sings “the heart is just a muscle that is breathing, the heart is a just a muscle I am teaching” it’s a song which seems to hint at hurt, and of healing.

Architect is, in short, true to name. The album builds layers, sounds and timbres to create a body of work which is at times disparate and yet equally bound together with a sense of playful creativity. Those who long for the more melodic numbers might find themselves disappointed, nevertheless it’s an album which burns slowly and grows with each listen if you allow yourself time to stop and consider it’s construction.