RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Walking Papers – WP2
Loud and Proud Records

Rating: B

Walking Papers vocalist /guitarist Jefferson Angell is pretty darn proud of the band’s new album,WP2

He literally sees no reason for the band not to be great.

“There’s no excuse to not be great anymore. Everyone now has access to everything related to music, right at their fingertips — every recorded sound, endless lessons for kids to learn every guitar lick, and the very foundation of music and where it all comes from. In a weird way, I think that raises the bar for what artists need to do with their own work.”

Before going any future…let’s be totally honest…the main reason there is a  lot of interest in the band Walking Papers is due to the fact that Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver) is a member.

Duff is not only a huge rock star…he is a consummate musician with both a creative streak and media friendly huge smile.

If Duff were not in this band they would have a harder time getting noticed in the crazy musical environment of today.

That said…this is a very good band with or without him.  

This does beg the question of ‘why is Duff in this band?’

He certainly doesn’t need the money. His work calendar is full. He has a good social life.

The reason may be because he loves this music.

Angell agrees with my assessment.

“He’s got so much going on with his other legendary successes that he certainly didn’t have to keep working with us. But I think our grassroots approach inspired him, and reminded him why he got into playing rock ‘n’ roll in the first place.”

WP2 opens with as song titled “My Luck Pushed Back.” Duff makes his presence known right away with a low-end thump. He, then, backs off and lets the band shine.

“Red and White” brings to mind U2 (back when they were good) but with a bluesy edge that creates a sad, yet smooth emotional response.

“Somebody Else” showcases a harder edged sound and makes it easy to see the influence of drummer Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees, Mad Season).

Angell is proud of his drummer and enjoys creating music with him.

“There’s some creative tension, sure, but the music benefits from it. If you have an idea and you’re not willing to fight for it, then maybe it’s not that good of an idea in the first place. In our band, everybody has a lot of good ideas that we’re all willing to fight for. Sometimes it’s painful, but at the end of the day, we all feel really good about what we’ve accomplished together.”

The 13-tracks on WP2 show a band more worldly and mature than on their debut. As good as that album was, this one is better. The songs are more accomplished. The vibe is more pronounced. The emotions, often sublime and sad, are alive and well.

There is a rockin’ aspect for sure, but this is no GNR. The lyrics are deeper. The mood heavier and the music more morose. This can best be seen in the weirdness of “Don’t Owe me Nothin’,” one of the best tunes on the release.  

The musicians in this band all come from very different places in both their music tastes and their lives. This creates a certain kind of tension that makes the listener pay attention.

The result is a song like “This is How It Ends,” which takes this big musical stew and pours in all of the necessary ingredients.  There is the soul, the rocking guitar, the hypnotic beat and the catchy chorus.

This is what makes Walking Papers an interesting band...having a HOF bass player is just the icing on the cake. 

It’s refreshing to hear new music with such passion. There is no bowing to corporate pressure, or trying to keep up with the musical Joneses on this sucker.  Instead, we get well-crafted songs with a unique sound and perspective.  

WP2 is a damn good personification of who these guys are, as both musicians and human beings.

This music is the real deal.

1. My Luck Pushed Back
2. Death On The Lips
3. Red & White
4.Somebody Else
5. Yours Completely
6. Hard To Look Away
7. Before You Arrived
8. Don’t Owe Me Nothin’
9. This Is How It Ends
10. I Know You’re Lying
11. Into The Truth

Jefferson Angell – Vocals, Guitar
Barrett Martin – Drums, Vibes, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Duff McKagan – Bass
Benjamin Anderson – Keyboards, Backing Vocals

By Jeb “Sweet Child” Wright