Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Walt Disco Release Their Most Personal and Heartfelt Single with ‘Jocelyn’

Making music that is solidly grounded in the old glories of New Wave and yet perfectly tailored for contemporary sensitivities, Glasgow’s Walt Disco are easily one of the most interesting bands to have emerged from the UK scene in recent years. 

From their very beginnings, they have stood out with a very clear, confident aesthetic; an uncanny skill for storytelling, making each of their singles a self-contained universe, able to touch on emotional chords with ease without ever coming across too rhetorical; and a matching skill for composition, resulting in a sound that has grown increasingly polished, layered, and complex without losing the immediacy that makes it so effective when playing live. 

The intricacies of their music translate seamlessly from studio to stage, and the first handful of singles drawn from their forthcoming second album, ‘The Warping’, out this June, has confirmed this trajectory. 

With an easy blend of introspective lyrics, sharp guitars, a touch of synth, and a production capable of admirable self-restraint, the tracks have shown the range we have come to expect from this band, coupled with the confidence of artists who have a very clear idea of where they are going. All of this easily applies to ‘Jocelyn’, their latest offering. 

The track could easily be described as musically ambitious and compositionally tight, with some innovative touches, like the way the guitars seem to court an almost bluesy sound or the newfound softness of the brush-heavy drums. Yet where this song stands out is not in its sound, as carefully crafted and crisp as it is, but in its lyrics. Already in their first album Walt Disco have proved themselves to be brave and capable lyricists, fearless in exposing some very delicate feelings and insightful when addressing sensitive topics; in a way, ‘Jocelyn’ is the latest chapter in a story which previous tracks such as ‘Weightless’ had already started telling. But there is a gentleness and honesty to these lyrics, a meaningfulness in the details they choose to present, that makes them feel like a snippet from a private conversation. It is a perfect fit for the intimate tone of the track as a whole, which is autobiographical and self-reflective, laying bare a newly-proud self which is all the more impactful for its delicate delivery. All of the things that have by now become trademark Walt Disco are here, of course: the familiar echoes of Adam and the Ants or The Smiths, the transitions in the vocals which make them go smoothly from soft and understated to well-rounded and powerful, the atmospheric hints of distortion. There is a hint of Old Hollywood in the mood the song evokes, and there is a slight nod to a folk ballad in the heavy lilt of the composition, which feels almost, especially in the first half, like a lullaby.

Most of all, there is a great deal of heart. As experimentation becomes – thankfully – more and more common again amongst the ranks of grassroots rockers, high levels of craft in alternative music are more easily found; but for a piece of music to bare its heart in this way is altogether rarer. ‘Jocelyn’ is startling in more than one way, and provides a moment of genuine connection through music.

Chiara Strazzulla


Image: ‘Jocelyn’ Official Single Cover

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