- 18 Apr 19
Dingle four-piece are firing on all cylinders.
Three years ago Walking On Cars’ released their debut Everything This Way. A commercial triumph, it helped the Dingle natives’ rise through the ranks and become major players, not just domestically, but internationally too. However success brought with it a mountain of stress and strain: the five-former school friends became four when guitarist Dan Devane decided to leave for pastures new.
That wasn’t the only speed bump. Walking On Cars also decided to change their management. Throw into the mix the fact that the public were (not so) patiently waiting for a second LP and you have a combustible, borderline catastrophic situation for the outfit.
Iron sharpens iron though: the hugely anticipated Colours is a record that gamely rips up the rulebook, in a bid to make something that is, to quote frontman Patrick Sheehy, “Fuckin’ pumpin’.” Economical in length (the nine-track effort clocks in at just over 31 minutes), but not in ideas, the opus marks a growth in musicianship and confidence. More of an evolution than a complete revolution, Colours broadens their sonic palette and sees them experiment with programming, synths and unabashed pop hooks.
Re-teaming with producers Tim Bran and Roy Kerr, and recorded over four weeks in London and Angelic in Oxford (the base of operations for The 1975 for a time), the record affirms that Walking On Cars are very far from running out of gas. Opener (the aptly named) ‘Monster’, is a catchy statement of intent that’s loaded with a strong chorus, finger snaps, synths and ’80s pop spice. Next up, the hooky ‘Waiting On The Corner’ continues the high standards, while ‘Coldest Water’, the album’s first ballad, gives goosebumps you could hang your hat off.
It gets even better: the second half of the record is where Walking On Cars really shine. Upbeat floor-filler ‘Too Emotional’ is a solid gold pop banger that will earn them lots of new fans, while the stripped back closer, ‘Pieces Of You’ soars with the best of them and will sound positively anthemic live. Criticisms? Well, there are moments when I’d have opted for the band’s innate rawness over extra polish, and an extra track or two would not have gone astray. But, overall, this is a strong comeback from one of the island’s most beloved bands.