I’ve been a musician for decades and when big events happen you notice other artists often write about them. Once the pandemic hit, it took about a week for songs, EP’s and albums to flow about what people were feeling. I’ve coined it “pandemic albums” and since then I’ve reviewed hundreds of albums about what people are experiencing. On the recent release These Walls Linda Sussman explains: “About half the tracks were written in the early days of COVID-19 lockdown and are a reflection of the world while in isolation.”
The album is a mix of blues and folk. In Sussman’s own words she says “music crosses lines of alternative-folk and blues and whose songs span universal themes such as love, heartache, triumphs and social justice.” That’s about right but in my opinion this felt more like straight folk.
The album starts off warm and fairly joyous with “These Walls.” There’s a mix of guitar, piano, bass and drums. The arrangement was well done and I loved the brush work on the drums. I’ll admit I had to warm up to Sussman’s vocals when I first heard them on this song. They did grow on me with repeated listens and as the album progressed I appreciated them more and more.
“Eye of the Storm” is sort of a lowdown dark mix of blues. In a different dimension I can imagine Jim Morrison singing a song like this. I thought her voice was interesting against this style and sort of goes against the norm. It worked out well.
Sussman however sounds really at home on “Catch Me If I Fall” which is a folk song. This felt like a classic ’70s ballad with warm guitar picking and other instrumentation that creates a serene and comforting mood.
“Tomorrow Blues” plays a timeless blues riff and feels like nothing else but the blues. “Join Hands” is unapologetically unifying and wholesome, and throws in the sort of standard social justice sentiment musicians have been singing about since the ’60s. It was a highlight. The percussion sounds perfect against the flamenco style guitar. I also loved the hook which was very catchy.
As the album progresses I thought there were a number of highlights. The slide guitar on “My Baby” hit the mark while “Cocoon” has a tropical vibe and flirts with Bossa Nova. The closer “Sounds” contains fantastic guitar work and thought-provoking lyrics and Sussman even sings in Spanish at points.
One thing I did notice was that the songs did feel genre specific. For instance the blues inspired songs really embraced the standard criteria that defines the genre. Same goes for folk. There wasn’t too much bleed from either genre into the other.
The production and recording quality was exceptional. I really have no critique here other than keep working with those engineers.
This is a great album where you can tell there was a lot of work was put into it. As they say, the proof is in the pudding. The songs were heartfelt and sincere and felt honest. I think this album will resonate with fans of folk and blues. Take a listen.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook