Wallis Bird – ‘Architect’ album – Review
Wallis Bird – ‘ARCHITECT’
Release Date: 11th April 2014
With the release of her fourth album, ‘Architect’, Irish artist Wallis Bird marks another milestone in her career – a career that has been fought step by step; a career that has been built slowly but solidly, as her growing legions of fans will testify; and a career with as many ups as downs, but very few compromises. To build a house, you have to put the foundations in place first, and ‘Architect’ represents the culmination of a long journey of self-discovery and reinvention. I can’t lie, I wasn’t aware that Bird lost all the fingers on one hand due to a childhood encounter with a lawnmower. It suffices to say that she doesn’t reflect it in her work, there’s an enchanting rhythm to her style, think Rodrigo y Gabriela meets the Gossip but with a with an extra dash of playfulness added in, all of which results in this sweet and salty style in her latest musical offering.
This rhythm obviously arises from Bird’s own perseverance as a recording artist, self-releasing her first single ‘Blossoms in the Street’, marked the beginning of a well-rewarded path in for this wonderfully fresh musician. As well as almost immediately being signed by Island Records, Bird received an Irish Meteor Award in 2009. After receiving another prestigious Irish Meteor Award in 2010, she was invited to do a Europe-wide tour with Rodrigo y Gabriela. Her next self-titled album in 2012 marked the rise and rise of Wallis Bird, but not one to rest on her laurels; she continued to enhance her reputation beyond the recording studio- becoming well known for her live performances. She maintains this wondrous energy throughout her live performances, with the combination of her husky voice and continued desire to leave her audiences speechless at the end of her performance, thanks to her unwavering rhythm and charm.
The new album ‘Architect’ brings with it new influences, having moved from London to berlin, Bird was quick to soak the city’s lively culture throughout the capital. Taking all these influences as putting them through what she so charmingly describes as the “Bird-blender” before serving her latest musical offering to her eager fans. Her forthcoming single Hardly Hardly, arriving on the 4th of April, from the album of the same name, doesn’t disappoint as Bird puts her own spin on adrenaline filled club anthems, ushering her listeners to leave their worries in coatroom and loose themselves to the dance floor.
Bird’s influences do not simply stop at her own personal experience; she uses her track with I Can Be Your Man, to challenge what she argues to be “Russia’s stone-age approach to sex”. Her voices gently smoulder as the rhythm is reduced and she teases her listeners with this provocative song. It’s significantly slower and yet style maintains Bird’s distinct quality as she examines sexuality and gender roles. Yet, unwilling to ever falter on quality, the successive track, Daze, which is sort of head-bopping, fist pumping track, leaves listeners feeling excited, brimming with Bird’s infectious passion. Focusing on the effects of romance, Bird is never one to feel sorry for herself- rather than quietly and slowly deal with infatuation, she provides her readers with an all-out romp song. Her tracks Gloria and Communion are wonderfully catchy, they have the kind of rock out qualities of an era gone by, they’re tracks you just know you want to see live. Yet the variance never stops with Bird, she refuses to be confined to one genre, moving on from the rhythm and movement, she slows things down for the more poignant songs such as Holding a Light. Tracks like The Cards or River of Paper hold a much more reflective quality to them, there is this sort of haunting quality to them. Reducing the guitars and noise allows the reader to focus on her beautiful vocals, the way she almost seems to think to herself as she sings.
Review by Elaine McDonald