If the Strokes finally gave into their mothers’ wishes and all took showers, they’d probably towel off and start writing songs that sound like the Wallies. The band of Floridian rockers/rollers is led by Croatian expatriate Neven Skoro; a fact made notable by hints of an Eastern European accent that add a subtle flourish to his vocal parts. In a romantic comedy, this is the song that starts playing right before people start taking their clothes off.
“Subtle Romance” is part of their latest five-song EP “Cream.”
Who would suspect that America’s best hope in fending off the vibrant young hordes of Arctic Monkeys, Fratellis, Subways, and Bloc Partys from overseas would spring not from, say, Brooklyn, but instead from Sarasota, Florida? A hopeful nation should be turning their eyes to that city’s very own The Wallies, an indie rock band with the fire, visceral appeal, and goddam great songs to stand up against any frenetic guitar chargers.
Singer Neven Skoro (who, okay, originally hails from Croatia) has a casual delivery that compliments the urgency of the band, in contrast to so many singers who struggle to keep pace with the charging, post-punk smash being laid down around them. If The Strokes all took uppers and Julian Casablancas stayed down on Quaalude level, you’d have something like The Wallies.
These guys keep it to three minutes at a pop, for the most part, with songs like “Subtle Romance” and the wonderfully titled “What I Like About You Is You’re Rock Bottom.” A notable exception is “Wrong Way,” which errs on the side of brevity with a 1:44 running time. You’re going to love them all.
An interesting quality of The Wallies’ new EP “Sugar” is that they sound familiar, so much like something I have heard before, and yet I cant quite put my finger on what exactly they remind me of… I hear echoes of Weezer, The Arctic Monkeys, a dash of 60’s surf rock, and even some interesting guitar effects a la King Crimson. The band themselves have been described as sounding like “The Beach Boys meet The Sex Pistols” but in my eyes, none of these influences accurately describe the sound that comes out of your speakers. What we have here is something new and refreshing. It isn’t exactly groundbreaking or musically adventurous, but these four musicians have come together and created a sound that can’t really be described by just naming off a list of similar bands.
They have come a long way from their demo “Cream” which, while well received, drew more than a few comparisons to the Arctic Monkeys. While the new record still echoes the qualities of the aforementioned UK group, they incorporate some sunnier elements not previously heard on Cream’s slightly more aggressive outings. Formed in 2010 by guitarist/vocalist Neven Skoro, who moved to America from Croatia at the age of 17, The Wallies have been receiving favorable reviews for their recordings and live shows ever since. According to their Facebook page, their goal is to ” bring the kind of music and shows they loved from the U.K. to the U.S.”
Sugar was recorded right here in Sarasota over a period of 6 months, at Science Studios with engineer Neal Parsons. Having recorded several of my own musical projects there, I was both excited and thoroughly impressed with Neal’s production. He does an excellent job of capturing the retro tones on this album, while still giving it a slick modern sound guaranteed to keep the attention of the less discerning audiophiles among us.