The Walkup – Down on Pacific
Record Label: Reynolds Recording Co.
Release Date: June 3, 2008
The Walkup aren’t completely responsible for me falling asleep at 5 PM today, but I’m going to blame them anyway. Pop-post-indie-punk-blah-blah might be the most inconsistent genre ever, which makes each new record a curious affair or devastating let down. I know Alex Koch isn’t from anywhere exotic, even though his heavy-handed “accent” would have me believe otherwise. I know the song structures are repetitive and especially derivative because I actually perk up when Michael Petrucelly hits the cymbals extra mathematically (“Otherside”) or when everyone joins together to embellish Sean Finnigan’s chaotic guitar solos (“Conversation”). Basically, I’m searching for positives here. I'll be sleeping again if this review doesn’t land upon an especially interesting metaphor fairly soon.
Down on Pacific evokes more sighing than fashionable shuffling. The music is too encased in a shell of hipster squealing and too-cool-for-school ethics to fully realize its potential. “My Youth” does plenty right by adding “Woo Hoos” and a coffeehouse open mic night riff, but once you realize all this stuff is repeated on every (every) song, you won’t be quite as thrilled. Koch tends to smother his voice like he’s yelling through a terrible telephone or stuck in a mental ward hallway, which makes his normally soothing voice sound rather grating. “The Long Hours” could be neat-o without Koch layering his pitiful vocals over Petrucelly’s impressively catchy drumming, and there’s just something about the repetition of the phrase, “You treat me like a rag doll,” that irks me. It could be the inanity of the simile (something I deal with all too often), or maybe it could be the descending notes the words are sung to. Even the progressions are overdone and tired.
“Let’s Go” finds Koch drying his sweater vest on a higher wire. He sounds especially nasally, and despite crystalline guitar picking, the song lags. By the end of Down on Pacific Koch sounds very dime-a-dozen. Not bad, mind you, just rehashed. Thankfully “In The Park” actually instills a sense of urgency with its quick tempo and Finnigan’s siren-like guitar. An adequate drum build-up and an au natural Koch makes for interesting songwriting and some much needed energy. This song sticks out in a good way. An album full of odd-ball juxtaposition might actually help these guys step out of the genre's crowded, purple-tinted haze.
Recommended If You Like: The Smiths, The Velocet, great album art, Gang of Four, sour patch kids