Shy Layers release on Growing Bin Records could be the sleeper hit of the year
JD Walsh is a master of melody. He’s sings are chocked full of a pop sensibility that other musicians would love to possess. The real kicker is that he could easily make big and brash summer pop hits, but he’s decided, instead, to make laidback electro pop/Afro-Lounge bangers. They are perfect for playing at BBQ’s, pool parties, or whilst strolling by the sea as the sun sets.
Don’t let the title confuse you as Black and White is anything but! Woozy synths mix with choppy Afro-beat rhythms and heavily vocodered vocals. You don’t really know what’s going on as the Afro-Beat and electronic elements juxtapose, rather than complement each other, but there is a feeling of easy and companionship. Famous Faces feels like a reworking of Fleetwood Mac’s classic Albatross, but you know a synth-lounge. It’s a song for long late night conversations and longer drinks. Stabilized Waves is a woozy and wonky soundtrack to your favourite summer holiday. Lazy melodies and rhythms jostle for your attention, whilst never exerting themselves as the temperature is too high. You can almost see the heat waves coming from the speakers when it plays. This is a fantastic piece of music and when the Afro-Beat guitar kicks in you’ll get even more comfortable on your sun lounger.
Holding it Back picks up the pace a bit with a driving bassline. The beats slowly pop around us while laconic synths engulf us like a summer mist. The vocoder is back, but its inclusion is delightful and really brings Hold it Back together. Bees and Bamboo showcases Walsh’s gift at melody. Throughout its three minute duration Walsh doesn’t hold back. Afro-Beat guitars wash over us continually, as the sea on a shore. Just bubbling below the surface are delicate synths and basslines, but it’s the guitar that is the start of the show here. The album closes with 1977. Again Walsh shows off his softer, melodic side. A shuffling beat welcomes us while a 1970’s-esque vocal keeps everything moving forward.
If any album could be the surprise sleeper hit of the summer, this could be it, but given how you can only get it on vinyl from an indie in Germany, and it isn’t on i-tunes/Amazon might put some people off. Saying that the album is culled from Walsh’s previous two EP’s so it is possible to put it together. Either way this is irrelevant as Walsh has crafted ten songs that appear to be made of pure sunshine and fun. If this doesn’t soundtrack your summer, and if we get one, Indian summer then you’re doing it all wrong!
Shy Layers is out now on Growing Bin Records