I’ve previously hyped my fellow Knoxvillian and Tumblrbro, Brandon Biondo’s side project Walsh on this blog, but this summer, he dropped an EPthat demands attention right fucking now.
Biondo’s day job is with bouncy, synth-filled rock band Coolrunnings, and his nighttime gig has been removing the “rock” part of the equation and pumping out electro-jams under the alter-ego of Walsh.1 Additionally, there was a strain of amiable goofiness that ran through both projects.2
So, when I saw that he had posted a new EP, I downloaded it (for FREE, hint hint) and threw it in with a few other new dance-y pieces I’d gotten recently. Halfway through the playlist, a soft, introspective track started playing. When I unminimized my music player3 I found, to my surprise, that it was the first track on Biondo’s new EP, Longing: Part 1. I excised it from the playlist and returned to it, alone, later.
In a word, it’s fantastic.
In seventy-eight words, it’s a restrained and emotional collection of music that still manages to feel inviting. As it’s title suggests, it’s sad, in a weary, mature sort of way, which makes it feel exceptionally honest, but still sensible. If you saw this album personified at a party, it wouldn’t be the girl who got really drunk and cried about her ex; Longing: Part I would be the girl who stands out on the deck smoking and looking off into the night.
It’s only four tracks, so let’s break each one down briefly.
"Sleeve" is a slightly shuffely number, filled with an air of gentleness that extends to both the calm, flutelike synths and Biondo’s delivery. And, towards the end, it features the centerpiece of the EP, an guitar reverbed so to deliberately mirror the emotion of the collection’s title.
"If They Don’t Want Me To Be" starts out with warm oceanic synths that are stutteringly broken up, before returning like the tide. It’s a transition track, to be sure, but it sounds lush. (And I’m a sucker for deep, thick synths.)4
"Go Back" features Biondo’s vocals doubled up for an almost barbershop-quartet-like chorus. The song repeats its title seemingly endlessly, like a thought running through your mind when you reflect upon the regrets you have. Then, the track ends with the phrase being suddenly cut off right in the middle of "Go" and "Back", hinting at a sudden resolution.
"I Don’t Make a Sound", the final track, is the stand out, though. It begins with a lone piano line, as the ambient sounds of birds and insects filter in. Then, Biondo’s voice joins the piano part for a brief moment, and then the same emotionally charged guitar from "Sleeve" returns briefly as well. Finally, after Biondo returns for one last "I don’t make a sound" the track closes with a massive, M83 synth swell. The song sounds like closure, from the birds to the optimisticly grand ending, but not without retaining a little of the sadness (and sad guitar) of previous tracks.
Go download it here, or here. It’s free and it’s worth the modicum of effort needed to get it. Hurry up, now.
1. This is only vaguely related to the idea of alter egos, but I still think it’s amusing that Walsh’s last.fm page has a picture of Sean of Teams as its main image, because people saw the front of Walsh’s first EP and assumed that it was a picture of the artist.
2. Due, no doubt, to the fact that his vocal delivery can often be sweetly dopey.
3. In case you were wondering, I am a member of the Foobar2000 using master race.
4. Wow. I really did not realize how much sexual innuendo I stuck between those parenthesis. And now everything sounds like sex, even the end of the previous sentence.