Wallis Bird is someone who needs to be seen and heard, not read about. The pretty, pocket-sized Irish singer packs more punch than a five-piece band with her honest lyrics and uninhibited voice. Encore is her latest album, following 2007’s Spoons, and takes things up one hell of a notch. Her previous album is beautiful but lacks the ability of Encore to make you wake up, sit up and listen.
Both this year’s album and the artist are unformulaic. Try as I could, it was impossible to find other musicians with which to compare her music. There just aren’t any. Yet the songs feel familiar and comforting, like they have been there all along inside you.
Truth be told, it took me several listens for Encore to get under my skin. And there it remains. Once Dress My Skin, the opening track, starts there is no letting up until the final Polarised – the most hushed track on the album, but most certainly not the mildest. You feel empowered listening to I Am So Tired of That Line and feel like tapping your feet to Heartbeating City.
It is in Who’s Listening Now that her voice – never apologetic – is the most unrestrained: driven by passion rather than relying on its pure sound quality. The vocal equivalent of breaking her guitar strings – which has happened on occasion!
Personal highlights are the catchy Encore – the video of which is filmed against a backdrop of Berlin – and the stunning Ghost of Memories. It gets ever so slightly psychedelic during Take Me Home and then gentler on Feathered Pocket.
Her lyrics haven’t a jot of cliché or hackneyed emotion in them – there just ain’t no way of telling what’s next. While Wallis has five times the energy of the average person, Encore is made the joyous affair it is with the help of her band that include Chris and Michael Vinne, Aidan and Aoife O’Sullivan.
Wallis Bird has been supporting the awesome Mexican duo Rodrigo y Gabriela on tour. She is playing Dingwalls in Camden on Thursday 5th April, an occasion not to be missed:
Wallis Bird Official website: