w.h. Walker, Suds (Boogie Creek Records)
Every once in awhile, I get a disc that is just a fun listen, through and through. That’s what this Portland, Oregon, based band is delivering with Suds—pure fun. Originally known as Welcome Home Walker, the music is reminiscent of Atlanta’s Gentleman Jesse & His Men but with a soul tinge, while the vocals veer from Paul Westerberg to Jack White, two of my favorites.
The title track “Suds” is a song about getting clean, and is power pop at it's finest. Love the handclaps, shouting and full chorus, with a refrain like: “I cut rug like a rubber duckie / I get squeaky clean, yeah!” More straight-ahead rock, “As the Night Goes” is a track from an upcoming single with the Clorox Girls. It has good “whoa-oohs,” distorted vocals, and plenty of interesting beats. Really like the vocal treatment here—the seemingly easy and melodic screams.
“Saying Every Secret” is a bit jazzy, with erratic beats. This is the track where the vocals remind me so much of The Replacements. A super amped up vintage crooner, “Watch Your Step” is sure to put an instant spring in your own. “The Untold Death of Grady Jones” has a bit of a Latin flavor, with castanets, and what sounds like a Hammond B-3. It really gives a 70’s Styx or Led Zeppelin feel, but for just under a minute.
Another power pop-esque number, “Don't Let Me Go” is sassy and has good handclaps, cute lyrics and disjointed (but in a good way) beats. It reminds me of The Knack. Last tune “Second Hand Store” recalls a lighter version of Iggy’s “Lust for Life” or even Jet’s rip off song, and is an overall happy and rollicking number. You can check out the tunes here.