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Wallis Bird - New Boots

Wallis Bird, New Boots

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

NEW Boots, the sophomore album from Wallis Bird, is designed to shock people. It’s more gutsy than her debut, Spoons, and even more unpredictable.

“It’s not a record that you’d do your dishes to,” suggests Wallis herself. “I’ve lost friends over this album.”

The songs on New Boots emerged partly from the most euphoric moments of her life – epiphanies and personal triumphs – and partly from the shadow of splits – with her label and her partner. Combined, these were all experiences that nearly broke her in half.

Perhaps that’s why some of the sweetness inherent on Spoons has been replaced by a brash, raw approach that’s also reflected in the honesty of the lyrics. Wallis has been on an emotional rollercoaster since her breakthrough success, but she’s emerged stronger, feistier and less inclined to take any prisoners.

Album opener Can Opener, for instance, is a raw, almost blues-rock number that establishes the newfound grit in both Bird’s vocals and her guitar playing.

The same approach is adopted for Travelling Bird, a song in which the guitar playing really inspires – particularly given the horrific injuries she suffered as a toddler when she left her hand too close to a lawnmower while playing.

But Bird’s ability to conjure easygoing, radio-friendly songs is readily apparent on former single To My Bones, a euphoric crowd-pleaser that’s brimming with sunshine melodies and a much sweeter vocal approach. It’s an easy album highlight, as is the sweeter, more stripped down acoustic vibe of Made of Sugar, and the euphoric romp that is When We Kissed The World Fell In Love!… a track that benefits from some orchestral flourishes.

Such moments, however, are neatly contrasted by the stripped down bluesy-ness and heartfelt honesty of Meal of Convenience, or the easygoing alt-rock of An Idea About Mary.

The brass and rock of Lalaland, meanwhile, is a foot-stomping rocker that’s rousing as hell, while Berlin mixes a kooky percussion with “bum bum bum” backing vocal harmonies to deliver another charmer.

But right through to final track, a live cover of Comfort Fit’s Yer Daddy, which serves as a useful showcase of her vocal prowess in live form, Wallis Bird seems confident in her ability to mix tempos and deliver lyrics of searing honesty.

She maintains that New Boots is a conscious step away from Spoons and one that is born of “finally throwing off the chains of creative limbo” and the frustrations of a turbulent period in her life.

As such, it’s a fascinating, high quality comeback that succeeds in furthering Wallis Bird’s reputation as one of Ireland’s premier singer-songwriters.

Download picks: Travelling Bird, To My Bones, Made of Sugar, When We Kissed The World Fell In Love!, Lalaland, Berlin, An Idea About Mary

Track listing:

  1. Can Opener
  2. Travelling Bird
  3. To My Bones
  4. Meal Of Convenience
  5. Made Of Sugar
  6. An Idea About Mary
  7. When We Kissed The World Fell In Love!
  8. Lalaland
  9. Berlin
  10. Measuring Cities
  11. Your Morning Dream
  12. Yer Daddy (Bonus Track)