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Walk Upright - Walk Upright

  by Steve Kinrade

published: 25 / 9 / 2018



Walk Upright - Walk Upright
Label: Gare du Nord
Format: CD

intro

Exuberant and classic 70's punk -influenced debut album from London-based guitar band Walk Upright


I always was a complete sucker for a song that actually nails the experience of being at a wild, intoxicated, joyous gig. You know, the ones where the audience and the band have a sort of quantum entanglement, where the actions of one directly affects the other. Two examples of such a relationship - one old, one new - would be REM in their UK Tours between 1983-1985, and Widnes band the Racket. So the song in question is the album opener, the mightily entitled 'Trash Wave'. Dee McGruddy’s excellent late 70's Art-Punk vocal delivers on the satisfaction quota again and again, and that’s no mean feat to wrestle your attention away from the angular pneumatic screeching of the guitar attack. Now, you are probably thinking that that is one hell of a combination, and it is, but 'Trash Wave' just sums up that feeling so well. Have a few bevvies and scream 'Trash Wave' with McGruddy, and feel the catharsis. It should be on the National Health... 'Waiting for What', the second track in, doesn’t lose its footing and keeps up the momentum. It is reminiscent of the Stranglers in their pomp (certainly not those lightweight charlatans Elastica) and the vocal interactions between Dee McGruddy and Denis Osbourne manage to shift the kilter of the song even more to the left-field. Another great reason to give this band your attention is that they take risks - sonically, arrangement wise, compositional - it goes on. And a great example of this is 'Don’t Weep Melissa', which echoes late 60’s Britpop, changes time signature, has a lovely lilting vocal delivery from Osbourne, and an ear splitting crescendo. In fact, I want to be in the crowd echoing this advice to Melissa. 'Very Very Last' reminded me of some of the great Motown classics, and McGruddy’s performance is top notch and heart-wrenching. Seriously, this is a song that Dusty would have taken over. And gladly. This debut album seems to have a certain musical linkage, reminiscent of Dexy’s later albums. For example, 'Very Very Last' last notes segue into the gentle opening of 'Wasting My Time', a beautiful song with an apt and atmospheric sax solo. 'Rebecca’s Friends' see us back into killerstomp chorus territory, again the vocal delivery between McGruddy and Osbourne being both urgent and delightful. You may think of the Beautiful South, but if they were the band for mortgaged-up couples, Walk Upright haven’t settled for mediocrity as yet, aiming to explore all possibilities. 'Nirvana' does so, the dual vocals soaring against the muscular accompaniment. The album ends with the atmospheric, chorus-pedal driven 'I’ll Tag Along With You', with Osbourne giving a salutatory nod to Jeff Tweedy with his vocal delivery. It builds a little, with drums and an asthmatic accordion, and then falls away, like a leaf descending from an autumn, yellowing tree. Then all you hear is a phone ringing out...and sand does slip through your fingers if you grip too hard. So it seems that Gare Du Nord have hit the bullseye again. My advice to the label is to pay the £150 or whatever and get this album on the Mercury Music Prize pre-list. Now, we all know that it's a long shot that Walk Upright will be rubbing shoulders with the like of Jools and swilling down the sponsored alcohol, but it can be used as a promotional tool. Or, put the money into something more credible - like the label. But this debut album would be worthy to sit on such a short list - it's that good. Sadly, the odds are it will be overlooked, but let us be positive. Let’s 'Paint It White' rather than black. The musical wheel may turn from the major label 'X-Factor' ad nauseam convey-belt rubbish to something more real, credible, integral, organic. And if this “76 style revolution is to come, my money is on the likes of 'Walk Upright' to be in the vanguard of such overdue change. An early contender for my album of the year. Trash Wave!! Hell Yeah!! Feeling better already!! Hell Yeah!! Feeling better already.



Track Listing:-
1 Trash Wave
2 Waiting for What
3 Paint It White
4 Don't Weep Melissa
5 Very Very Last
6 Wasting My Time
7 Rebecca's Friends
8 Nirvana
9 Blackbird Sing
10 Sanctioned
11 Not the Way I Remember It
12 I'll Tag Along with You



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