Making his debut on the same label that helped bring Pedro The Lion to a wider audience, T.W. Walsh is an artist from Boston that falls into some of the same singer/songwriter qualities as David Bazan (of Pedro), but with his own little differences as well. Like a lot of other 'bedroom' musicians, he has an arsenal of instruments that he mainly plays himself (with some minor help from others) and goes back and forth from acoustic to electric guitar and from drum machines for a backdrop to actual ones.
The album opens with the great track "Drunk and Poor," on which Walsh sings about feeling stuck on a position in life and others perceptions of it with only an acoustic guitar and simple pitter patter of a drum machine as backing. At several points in the song, his voice sounds like it's being stretched just a bit too far and might crack, but it stays on that fine line and that edge adds to the song. The very next song, "The New North American Friction" is more of a typical rock jam sound before he drops off into the very playful "The Polite Way to Rob a Bank." It's a goofy number with falsetto vocals and not to let himself stagnate at all, he changes things up again on the very next track.
"Silent Movies" is stripped-down to only an acoustic guitar, but the layered vocals effect makes it one of the prettiest tracks on the disc. Nearly the same effect is used on "Fear Of Dancing," and he manages to make it work again. After the great title-track, the album loses a bit of steam on a couple tracks before closing out with the longest track (and another good one) with "Border Patrol." It's one of the most layered tracks on the album in terms of instrumentation, and although his stripped-down tracks work nicely, he shows that he can be a one-man band as well.
Despite the album changing up styles very slightly on nearly every track, Walsh's voice is the one constant and may be the main deciding factor in whether or not you'll like the album. Although a couple tracks are a little less-than-inspired musically, most of the tracks are fairly catchy and the lyrics are good as well. Like many indie artists, his voice is a bit wavering and almost whining sometimes, but it's definitely emotive.