With the backing of Guns ‘N’ Roses’ legendary bassist Duff McKagan and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, it would seem that Seattle’s newest musical export Walking Papers have made it their mission to propel classic rock back into the 21st century. And judging from the strength of their self titled debut album, it would seem that it’s a job well done.
Their influences are obvious from the word go. The sledgehammer blues based riffs and staccato backing chords to The Whole World’s Watching resonate echoes of The Black Keys while Jeff Angell’s vocals hold a similar strength and weight to Robert Plant but with a Kurt Cobain-esque grit. Album closer Independence Day features a hazy and dissonant grunge alike to Nirvana with its spiralling tremolo ridden guitar lines and sinister undertones. At completely the other end of the spectrum, The Butcher is a slow burning piano ballad, an area where too often, other rock bands have fallen short of the mark. Even from behind the fanfare-like horn lines on Red Envelopes, it still succeeds in its aim of being straightforward, good ol’ fashioned rock and roll.
As an album, it ticks a lot of boxes, doing so with the flair and grace you would expect of even the most seasoned of bands. Walking Papers know what they want to say and exactly how to phrase it. They may not be the guitar wielding messiahs who will bring rock and roll back to the masses, but you’ll be damned if they’re not going to give it a bloody good go.