album review::Chris Walla:Field Manual

Not being a huge fan of Death Cab For Cutie’s last album, I wasn’t exactly salivating to hear guitarist Chris Walla’s Field Manual. However, when I heard the wonderfully laid out pop of “Sing Again,” a couple of months ago, I was pleasantly surprised, and had to rethink things. Songs that are leaked before records come out, are usually the best tracks, and sometimes the only good tunes on an album. While “Sing Again” will still be a favorite for many, the record is really stocked from beginning to end, and sure to please if you like the sound of the first single. In terms of my picks, at the moment I have a thing for the guitar building “Geometry &C,” and the more sedate acoustic based “Everyone On,” which has an instantly familiar chorus, even though you haven’t heard the song before. Field Manual opens with the spacey “Two Fifty,” and its big creamy vocals laid over dollops of sound, gliding into crunchy guitar power pop rocker “The Score.” Neither track completely betray the sound of the rest of the record, but more so serve as an intro to what I see as the real meat. Walla is known for being both producer and musician, and his talents are obvious on this great sounding album, both in terms of songs, and the recording. Calling Field Manual atmospheric pop may be appropriate, but it really short sells this album of full color aural photographs. While never depressing, the mood of the album is thoughtful and gray, which mixes well with the rich music and melodies. However, the true magic of Field Manual, resolves around its emotional gravity, which tells you time and time again, that while you don’t know what Chris Walla is singing about, you know you’ve felt the same way.

Sing Again

Sing Again

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