Indeed, much of the album has trouble escaping this sentiment. The single ‘Hold On’, featuring R&B flavoured vocals from Raz Ohara, who worked with Apparat on his 2005 EP ‘Sizilium’, wants to be anthemic and uplifting, but seems almost too anodyne and clean to express a full-blooded emotion. Similarly, the album closes with ‘Over and Over’, also featuring Ohara’s smoky vocals, but the effect is too touching for its own good. Apparat’s Thom Yorke or Sigur Rós-inspired vocal debut on ‘Birds’, and particularly on ‘Arcadia’, reaches for but misses the heartstrings, despite the overall quality of his voice. It’s not all disappointment, though. Ohara brings to life ‘Hailin From the Edge’, the album’s best track, while ‘Fractales Pt. 1’ disintegrates into a messy, concrete noise called ‘Fractales Pt. 2’. The latter would offer more of an important contrast to the happy/hopeful emotions of the album if the sentimental piano melody would go away for long enough. Other passages shine briefly as lively pop hymns, while some splashes of live drumming add a bit of needed strength.
Overall, ‘Walls’ is a good album in the moral sense more than the musical sense. The listening experience is somewhat unexciting although aesthetically wholesome, making it a disappointing follow-up to ‘Orchestra of Bubbles’, last year’s more authentic collaboration with Ellen Allien.
Mon / 28 May 2007
1 Not a Number
2 Hailin From the Edge – feat. Raz Ohara on vocals
3 Useless Information
5 Holdon – feat. Raz Ohara on vocals
6 Fractales pt.1
7 Fractales pt.2
8 Birds – feat. Apparat on vocals
9 Arcadia – feat. Apparat on vocals
10 You Don’t Know Me
11 Headup – feat. Raz Ohara on vocals
12 Over and Over – feat. Raz Ohara on vocals
13 Like Porcelain