Walker Kong

Deliver Us from People

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Walker Kong's fourth album, Deliver Us from People, shows absolutely no signs of decline. All the things that make them one of the best under-the-radar guitar bands of the era are firmly in place: Jeremy Ackerman's literate and hooky songwriting, the rich blend of voices, the band's live wire but restrained sound, the layered and inspired production, and Emily Cahill's powerful drumming. These elements combine to make this record as compelling and exciting as their previous efforts. What has changed is that on Deliver Us the band adds a bit more rock to their sound: Ackerman's and Tony Mogelson's guitars have some real bite and the string and horns that prettied up Transparent Life are for the most part gone. Indeed a high percentage of the songs rock pretty hard, whether it's the pounding "Las Vegas Son," the hazily raw "Change Your Mind," or "We Are the Falling Stars," a dynamic rocker with a hugely catchy chorus. A couple of them like "Goodbye Lonesome Eyes" and "Metamorphosis Blues" have a newfound propulsion that could force you up out of your chair and get you spinning around the room in an indie pop dance fever. Conversely, the album also holds some of their prettiest moments, like the sweetly reflective "The Waiting Room," "Cloudy Girl from the Western World" (one of the few places the strings appear), and the dreamy album closer, "Oh, Jackie." It delivers one of the group's finest moments to date as well, namely "Andy Warhol & the Honey Bees." The bopping drums, cute fingersnaps, lovely backing vocals from Alex Ackerman (the band's secret weapon), slowly building dynamics, and zippy lyrics add up to make this the kind of song you want to pass around to your friends. Despite the minor cosmetic alterations, what you basically get on Deliver Us from People is more of the same brilliantly smart and tuneful indie pop/rock as on past albums. Just with more energy and a bit more passion. As a fan of indie pop/rock in 2007, you can't do any better than Walker Kong.

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