Mount Silver Records - Caroline International (label)
27 September 2019 (released)
23 September 2019
Wallis Bird wears her heart on her sleeve on new album Woman.
Formerly the promotional single and now opening album track ‘As the River Flows’ is a pointed pro-immigration song, that longs to roam free and holds a strong rebuke for anyone who dares use immigration as a political tool. Bird’s fiery passion is evident, and she certainly isn’t backwards about coming forward in expressing her views.
The full project has its moments as Bird speaks out on the issues that are important to her. While the artist staunchly holds her position on women’s choice, on ‘Repeal’ and the movement of people, the record spends time focusing on healing division rather than stirring it.
What’s more, Woman seems far more interested in inward reflection than just striking out against the world.
‘Grace’ is the chief exempla of the album’s forgiving more restrained approach.
The singer’s lyric notes reveal that the tune started life as an anti-Trump ode called “Dick Bag”, but now focuses on “deflating trumpism”. It’s a subtle distinction but it’s one that makes a world of difference.
Although the singer’s anger is still evident throughout the offering, there is much more of an emphasis on empathy, “lean into the kindness” and being willing to "back down" from highly charged situations. Moving the song away from a personal critique, to one of the atmosphere surrounding the man, allows the song to not only display its author’s frustration with the political scene, but also brings a welcome Softer tone.
To reinforce the theme of an understanding sympathetic discourse, ‘Love Respect Peace’ repeats that mantra over and over again as if to re-instill fundamental decency back into the listener.
While a political point of view is an important part of woman its far from the only subject. Some of the best moments on the record come as Bird turns the lens inward.
The bouncy rocker ‘That’s What Life Is For’ has Bird amusingly admitting “I am an angry pacifist and that’s what life is for”, while the delightfully doo-wop inspired ‘Woman Oh Woman’ gushes over wanting to please her lover.
In keeping with the album’s surprisingly relaxed vibe, the sound palette is gentle, bouncy, and does its best to put the listener at their ease.
‘Salve’ Provides jaunty funk, ‘Life Is Short’ is a bright and breezy toe tapper, while the aforementioned ‘Woman oh Woman’ offers sweet hearted blues. The latter holds within it one of the album’s stronger vocal performances. The songstress manages beautiful vocals, that pulls off tender love while adding in a hint of lustful steaminess.