If you’ve spent any reasonable amount of time in Ireland over the last two years or so you’re sure to have come across the powerhouse that is Wallis Bird. Having essentially become Dublin’s alternative sweetheart, and with two very successful albums already under her belt, this particular self-titled release was highly anticipated.
Opening track Dress My Skin and Become What I’m Supposed To is a gentle introduction to the album. Melodic and sultry, with a nice amount of variation in the instrumentation, this track maintains growth and flow, but the sense of quiet reflection is never diminished. Moving into second track, I am So Tired of That Line, Wallis certainly kicks things up a notch. Speaking her mind through her lyrics, accompanied by strong beats and her massively soulful voice, this song becomes a testament to changing old fashioned viewpoints and stereotypes.
Take Me Home is a return to the delicate. Once again, Wallis balances the soft and melodic with the rhythmic and catchy, before moving into an album highlight in the form of In Dictum. Stripped down for the most part, with mainly voice and guitar aside from some choral harmonies in the chorus, this track showcases Wallis at her most poetic and soulful, and shows that she doesn’t need anything more than her guitar to create some fantastic music.
Removing herself from the more serious side of her music, Heartbeating City takes a more lighthearted and easygoing approach. Contrasting all of her musical qualities against each other, But I’m Still Here, I’m Still Here returns to the sultry and dark again, with vocals and guitar playing against some beautiful interjecting piano lines. Stark and haunting, this track provides another highlight to what is an already extremely strong collection of tracks.
Closing the album, Polarised is another slow burner, building up to a climactic explosion of voice, instruments and emotion. The colour in Wallis’ voice tells its own story, words aside, filled here with raw emotion. Slowly winding down from here into a short instrumental section, the album comes to a slow, but beautiful end.
Varied, accessible and emotional, this album shows a more mature and thoughtful side to Wallis Bird, but with no loss of youthful enthusiasm and spark. In full, this album has it all – the love ballads, the celebrations of life, the passion, the despair. Wallis has managed to create a wonderful balance, and the care and detail that has gone into this album shines through clearly – a truly excellent record, from start to finish.