Wallis Bird’s ‘Wallis Bird’

One of the first things that you notice about the self-titled third album of Irish singer-songwriter Wallis Bird is that it’s not quite like anything you’ve heard before. In the first thirty seconds, the false sense of security provided by lullaby-esque guitars is disrupted by some rather naughty lyrics, and it’s this juxtaposition of the unexpected and the downright odd that carries the album. There’s enough variety here to fill an audio selection box and no matter what your preferred genre of music, be it folk, rock or pop, you’ll find at least one track here that appeals to you. There are definite influences of traditional Irish folk music, though, and many tracks have a distinct rock feel to them. Songs of similar genres are wisely separated by totally different tracks to keep the album interesting.

That’s not to say that the album couldn’t benefit from a few shuffles to the track listing. The first track, ‘Dress my Skin and Become What I’m Supposed To’, sells the album short, and perhaps isn’t interesting or memorable enough to really merit its place as the opening song. Equally, the closing track, ‘Polarised’, isn’t really special enough to leave you wanting more, although there’s a nice little hidden track if you stick it out long enough to hear it. In between these two bookends, however, it’s a different story. The ludicrously catchy ‘Encore’ is the highlight of the album, and aptly titled; if you don’t find yourself playing it on repeat for hours on end, there’s probably something wrong with you. It’s not hard to see why this was chosen as the first single from the album. Track two, ‘I Am So Tired of that Line’, is another strong point, more than making up for its lacklustre predecessor.

All in all, ‘Wallis Bird’ is a solid offering from a respected and talented musician, but it can often feel slightly half-hearted; a shame when it’s so easy to see the potential that it doesn’t quite reach. Bird asks us in the excellent eighth track of this surprisingly intriguing album ‘Who’s Listening Now?’. Well, we’re listening, and we like what we’re hearing.