Berkshire James Walker‘s life is made of music and dreams. And stories to tell, with brutal honesty and a delicate touch on his guitar or piano. He creates little worlds around tracks that grow slowly and establish some sort of connection with your own world, your own experiences, your own fears. ‘English Bones’, James’ debut album, self-released today, is the best example you can find about a guy who’s gone through the toughest experiences life can put on your path, and always chose to tell the truth, through his music and lyrics.
‘Weathered’, the LP’s opening track, is the perfect start, perhaps one of the most delicate and soulful numbers out of the entire record. It grows through acoustic guitar riffs and a fine arrangement of almost unheard percussions, bass and reverberated effects. It’s curious to find out, once again, how music can resonate to personal experiences, and Walker – who tells us the story of bitterness and confusion that follows a breakup – is taking us by the hand and reassuringly saying that there’s nothing wrong with that “What’s gonna happen now?” that floats in our heads.
‘English Bones’ is a 10-track effort that unfolds in less than 40 minutes. Amongst its gems there’s the delicate ‘Next To Me’, as well as the obscure and rhythmically complicated ‘Abyss’. James alternates solo moments with his guitar, wearing a peculiar indie folk outfit (‘Landslide’) with more uplifting chapters (‘2009’). There’s a fil rouge, though, that connects the whole path, and sits on a lyricism that never disappoints. We can find proof of this on ‘Lullaby’ too, a track that marks an introspective moment reaches its climax when Walker duets with Judy Blank.
“Making this record has been an explorative process for me. – James told us a couple of months ago, when discussing the release in an insightful interview – The songs that you’ll find on ‘English Bones’ are ten tracks that I’ve penned over the past eighteen months, and encompass both full-band and solo arrangements.” Here is the point, I’d dare saying. The album encompasses what James’ life has been in the last year and a half, and took shape whilst the artist went through different events and experiences that therefore influenced his own approach to songwriting. Take the final chapters of the record, to get a better idea. The hints of shoegaze in ‘Casualty’ and the instrumental closing track, ‘Kreuzberg’, are another tangible example of the composite mix of vibes this record brings to us.
James Walker chose to introduce himself to the world with an elegant debut album that very much sounds like a self-portrait of his whole self in the last couple of years or so. I am not going to lie: I am genuinely looking forward to seeing what’s next.
Self-Released | 2017
Tracklist & Stream