The warm, crepuscular tones of You Walk Through Walls’ self-titled new album evoke a tender and reassuring yet somehow distant domesticity, like photos of friends and family pinned onto the fridge or letters written to loved ones back home from a mildly adventurous yet personally significant trip.
The London-based band includes two former Air Formation members, Matt Bartram on guitar and vocals and James Harrison on drums, with Harry Irving on bass. Their basic sound is quite beautiful – saturated, grainy, expansive and resonant, and enhanced by a lush, analogue-sounding production. The well-crafted, tuneful songs recall the thoughtful and classy pop of old-school indie bands like The House of Love and Echo and the Bunnymen, or the liquid and immersive melodicism of Puressence. But while You Walk Through Walls drench their shimmering guitars with shoegazey overdrive and reverberation, they don’t seem to have the genre’s defining drive for sonic and structural experimentation. The singing is soft and sensitive, the drumming is understated and dexterous, the bass mines riches of melodic roadworthiness. There is a sense of solid consistency of sound and mood, counting on small intervals and subtle sonic gestures to make big emotional impacts.
The lyrics speak of loyalty, perseverance, keeping things together – but also of dissatisfaction, dreaming and going away. Cuddly and frayed like an old favourite jumper, the album nevertheless keeps a packed rucksack in the corner of its room, ready to go elsewhere, far beyond. In its unassuming way it manages to arrive at some classic destinations, turning its heartfelt impressions into something to write home about.