Beautiful People Playing Beautiful Music

by E. Danielsson

 

Are the Walters the best band in Chicago?! This was the question I had walking into my first Walters concert in September 2015. When I left, I was asking myself a new question: Are the Walters the best band ever?

From the beautiful poppy tones of the guitars to the summery vocals and matching outfits, the Walters put on a live show that people simply have to witness for themselves to believe. There was so much energy and gentle hip swaying onstage that I thought the walls would fall down. The songs were so good the audience was leaning forward straining their ears and begging them to turn up their amps. They just couldn’t get enough of it!

The main vocalist is the clear leader of this band of troubadours. Between his scintillatingly smooth gyrations, reminiscent of Ian Curtis (fun fact: he doesn’t even have epilepsy!), and his nasally off-key vocals that leave the listener wondering whether he gives the slightest shit about what he’s singing, the singer bestows upon every person in the crowd the self-assurance that they, too, could be the lead singer of the Walters. And that is a wonderful gift.

The Walters are adorable, and they know it. While some people might describe their music as low-rate schmaltz, I like to think of it as warm and comforting. The Walters bring an easy-listening indie-pop sound to their music not witnessed since as far back as mid to late 2000s Brooklyn and which is long past overdue for a resurgence. These are some of the safest songs being played by anyone these days. All throughout their discography, the listener is constantly being re-assured that no, you will not be introduced to any remotely new or innovative sounds, and that’s a certainty we all so desperately need during these uncertain times. This is what I look for in a rock band.

This band doesn’t just rely on good looks and a powerful stage presence. The lyrical content of their songs is what really sets them apart. As the lead singer croons the opening verse to their 2014 hit, “I Love You So,” I found myself quickly crumpling into a heap of my own tears on my bedroom floor as the heart-wrenching scenes of heartbreak filled my mind:

I hope you feel what I felt when you shattered my soul

'cuz you were cool and I'm a fool so please let me go

By the time the chorus comes, it’s almost too much for my newly fragile emotional state.  Each line rips into me like a dagger:

I love you so

I love you so

I love you so

I love you so

It doesn’t take Ornery Quarterly’s award winning music critic to see that the Walters are on a career trajectory that will soon make this 5 piece a household name. Much like those of us who were around sixteen years ago will never forget where we were on September 11th, 2001, a date that forever transformed the world, this current generation will always remember where they were when they first heard the Walters.