The Redwalls - The Redwalls
Record Label: Mad Dragon Records
Release Date: October 23, 2007
The first time I listened to The Redwalls, I was reminded of all of the melodies that I love about The Beatles, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. It makes sense that the Chicago foursome have the music of those artists embedded in their own sound. Their first album, Universal Blues, sounds like it was made in the 60s, but has a raw quality with the songs to match. Their second release and major label debut on Capitol was De Nova, a catchy but overproduced record. In 2007 they were dropped from Capitol due to the Capitol/Virgin merger right after completing their third self-titled album.
It's a shame the drop happened at that moment. The Redwalls is the discovery of the band coming into their own. The opener "Hangman" is hard to pull away from. The groove of the song is very strong and recalls a bit of The Stones. It's a great introduction to how insanely catchy The Redwalls can be. "Modern Diet" has some clever commentary and a sense of humor about all of the critics that complain of how much they sound like their influences with the chorus, "They said it's all been done before / And that there's really nothing new / I guess that's just your point of view." With "Put Us Down," The Redwalls prove it's one thing to sound like the The Beatles but another to almost be as catchy as them in their own way.
"Summer Romance" sounds like the ballad The Strokes never got around to doing, though the term "ballad" might not do it justice, because it still rocks a great deal. The hook in the song has perhaps stayed with me the most out of all of the songs. The harmonies in it are great as well and a good example of how big harmony is a part of the music The Redwalls make. The largely orchestral "You Can't Forget Yourself" has a whimsical rhythm to the orchestration along with some really fantastic instrumentation towards the end. "Game of Love" feels a bit like a modern "Hey Jude." There's an underlining mood to the song that eventually culminates into a grand gospel finale. The first half of The Redwalls is exceptionally strong and shows how good the band is at making a well crafted song.
The most enduring song, "Little Sister," has a sense of ghostly heartbreak to it. The two weakest songs on the album are "Into the Maelstrom" and "They Are Among Us." "Maelstrom" just isn't that strong of a song, but I can see someone else enjoying it. "They Are Among Us" is a pretty fun and catchy song about alien invaders but doesn't fit on the album that well. The Redwalls ends on the experimental "In the Time of the Machine." There's a constant echo going on during the song that adds a lot to the rhythm. As the song progress, more and more is added onto the rhythm until it becomes epic. There's a brilliant orchestral touch to it and it just makes it a very mean song. "In the Time of the Machine" is an impressive end to the album and really shows The Redwalls growing with their sound.
The Redwalls is a big sign of progression for the band. Enough time has passed by to let their influences sink in to the point where it sounds more like them and less like the bands that made them want to play music. I've been a fan for a while, and this long delayed album has lived up to everything I wanted it to be. This has to one of the catchiest, if not the catchiest album of the year. I've always thought The Redwalls worked best when they made the melodies of the 60s and 70s modern again, and now they've taken that idea and pushed it forward into their own territory.