Walking Papers – The Light Below (Album Review)

Creativity and musical expression is the spice of life. With everything going on in the world these days, it acts as more of a life blood since the entire music industry has taken such a heavy blow due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Causing economical destruction on a global scale, while live music may be on pause in most places, new albums are thankfully here to stay. Which leads us to the newest release from Walking Papers, The Light Below due out on February 5th, 2021 through Carry On Music. 

Fresh out of the Blues Rock scene, the Seattle based Walking Papers was started by The Missionary Position’s Jeff Angell (vocals) along with Screaming Trees’ Barrett Martin (drums). Those whom have followed the band over the last decade are also well aware that at one point Duff McKagan was a part of the team, but has since left due to his full-time commitment to Guns N’ Roses, and for Walking Papers’ 2013 debut album, Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready offered contributions as well. 

Now returning with a follow up to 2018’s Wp2, on board for The Light Below are Dan Spalding on bass, Will Andrews on drums, Angell’s bandmate from The Missionary Position, Benjamin Anderson on keyboards, along with appearances from Stone Temple Pilots’ Dean DeLeo playing some guitar and Gregor Lothian tuning in with the saxophone. 

With this very solid lineup of players at the helm, plus Aaron Spiro handling production, the twelve track album starts with the honest, yet cynical “The Value Of Zero.” From here The Light Below spins its antenna into a more spiritual direction that seemingly grasps at the reigns through the strength of a higher power. This monotonous expedition is carried on through “What Did You Expect,” “Devine Intervention,” but also “Stood Up At The Gates Of Heaven.”

Moving on, “Going Nowhere” determines if the past is where it should stay. After all, dwelling on that which can not be changed is only grounds to aggravate the undead demons of yesterday. It reminds you that memories are to be remembered, but there is no future for a memory. These thoughts in mind, the time lapse continues on “Creation Reproduction And Death,” a song which covers a good range of tricks of the trade while bringing them to life in peaceful yet direct manner. 

Jumping ahead, on “Rich Man’s War” you will find yourself knee deep in a very tragic real to life setting. However true this might be, it is also one of the most catchy tunes on the entire album. This if followed by the bluesy number “Where Did I Go Wrong,” before you find yourself running feet first into the Jazz enlightened “The Other Shoe.” Lastly, the album concludes with the two somber, desolate songs “My Thoughts Are Not My Own” and “California.” 

Overall, Walking Papers’ The Light Below is a wholehearted, honest approach to the creation of musical expression in a what feels like a doomed environment. For sincerity and more, Cryptic Rock give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.  

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