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Just Walden: High Street Barton Blues

Just Walden, High Street Barton Blues, album reviewJust Walden — High Street Barton Blues

Release Date: Oct. 21
Our Rating: 3/5
Spec Recs: “Stones You Throw,” “Full Body Tattoo,”
In One Word: Arpeggiated

The first track starts the album with a bell chiming in the background and some mumbled words until you hear a progressive piano track with some light percussive ornamentation. It leads into a dynamic song, “Romie Knows,” with reminiscence of Mae through its dark piano line and echoey guitar tones. The offbeat rhythm in the drums gives the track a distinctive edge. The song talks about a girl with an addiction to drugs and is always looking for the next best thing. Audio wise, the vocals don’t mix into the instruments well and the piano seems to be clipping during the bridge, which is distracting for an audiophile but is easily ignorable if you’re passively listening.

Space Cadet” is a fun song that explores a more electronic rock sound than its previous progressive piano tunes. The lyric “Is your phone charged?” rings a bit too true in this age of technology. The song picks up into double-time for the latter half and shoots you off into space. As “Space Cadet” ends and flows into “Hangman,” you begin to sense Coldplay in its subtlety. Capping at just 1:48, I was hoping to hear more growth in “Hangman.”

Lost Friends” is a ballad that talks about “meeting someday like lost friends.” It’s probably the most dynamic and innovative song on the album. It weaves in and out of a lovely piano arpeggiated melody. “Hole in the Head” is the first track with noticeable, impressive harmonies and a splash-toned percussive explosion with hits on the ride cymbal in the chorus. The singer’s voice in this song feels a bit too rock driven and harsh for this slow jam.

It seems the songs I love on this album are the ones too short for my liking. “Stones You Throw” times at 1:48 as well, but it’s one of the most beautiful songs on the album. It needs to be at least three minutes long. But “Full Body Tattoo” delivers with its subtle jazz pick-me-up sound. Quite possibly my favorite on the album, this tune sounds like autumn leaves falling. The octave scale climbing up the keyboard sends chills as the breeze blows by.

You Jumped Boat” starts out sounding similar to the other songs on the album until a computer-generated drumbeat comes in at 38 seconds and throws you off. The little Latin guitar lick as the transition from chorus to verse is a simple wisp of subtlety. “Last Call at the Elgin” is a jam session with spotlight on the piano player. There’s no doubt that the piano player is the most talented member of the band, with all other members merely slow-dancing behind its intricate melody.

Troubled Youth” brings out the alternative indie side of Just Walden. Quite possibly a radio single, the song explores both piano and electronic keys with electric and acoustic guitar. The rest of the album seems to fall to the side, with the album ending on part two of “Lost Friends.”

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