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Wallace - Album Review: And Other Colours

09 Aug 2022 // A review by Danica Bryant

Having spent her past few years across the ditch, Wallace now returns to her hometown in Wellington just in time for the release of her delightful new album, And Other Colours. It’s an exciting future soul affair, bathed in bright, simple lyricism and the voice of a charismatic rising star. 

Good as Gold opens the record with a house flair that defines Wallace’s sound. Her vocals are reminiscent of lilted Kiwi indie stars like Kimbra and Aaradhna. She doesn’t shy away from her accent, instead using it to her benefit and twisting her tongue around sly, rhythmic lyrics. This skill shines in the stunningly simple yet emotive descriptions on tracks like Eternal Instant and Current Location. There is always something in Wallace’s delivery which strikes directly to the heart.

Venus, The Birth Of glitters with glossy electronic mixing and curious, spacey melodies, whilst Jane Doe builds fizzling energy around whining alarm-like effects. The more muted interlude Tickled Pink stands out from the rest, particularly expressive with catchy melodies that punctuate its lo-fi production.

By the later half of the album, the songs unfortunately do start to meld together. There is room for more shifting dynamics, as And Other Colours does tend to teeter on the edge of too much similarity. However, it is clear these songs would thrive with the greater space and energy of a live setting. Regardless, Wallace wakes listeners from this haze with the remarkable track Ae Fond Kiss. Its surprising clunky percussion builds into a positively explosive chorus drop, bubbling in delicious distortion. Its verses also excellently showcase Wallace’s vocal range and tonal quirks.

Honey-smooth single Arcade Queen makes a real show of Wallace’s jazz training. Her silky, creative melodies flash over retro sound effects and nostalgic lyrics. Strong imagery recalling youthful days at Wellington’s Timezone, drinking “a jumbo Vanilla Coke” and a past lover fighting to “win me the big bear today”, picks listeners up and throws them into the moment as if they, too, have been caught by the claw machine. 

Later number Pantone Home operates in the same intensely visual space. Originally released as a single all the way back in 2018, the track paints a rainbow of Aotearoa suburbia, carried by a serene piano sample. It exemplifies the record’s sense of bright nostalgia, alongside its bittersweet search for identity, when the memories are over and it’s time to move on. In fact, this theme is perfectly summarised by relaxed closing track Ok, Ok What’s Next. Subtle and calm rather than a bombastic finale, yet simmering with hope, the title says all there is to say about this beautiful song.

And Other Colours is a triumphant album electrifying the soul genre. It’s as if Wallace shakes any genre she can find into a vast melting pot, serving the audience with an absolute musical feast. In her willingness to experiment, Wallace has created a beautiful, unique and empowering debut record. 

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Wallace

"Wow, what a voice... Just good soul music" - Gilles Peterson

"Top-notch vocal execution by Wallace, who sings from deep within her gut, without the excessive vocal-chord theatrics of Beyonce, and just as good" - Indie Shuffle

"... this is something altogether different and new... Wallace was clearly in her element, her hip-shaking moves as smooth and sassy as her delivery, effortless trills lacing her honeyed vocals." - The Music

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Wallace

Releases

And Other Colours
Year: 2022
Type: Album
Pole To Pole
Year: 2017
Type: Album

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