by Stewart Cheetham
Told Slant’s third album finds them at their most accomplished – setting their authentic brand of brutally honest songwriting to a more expansive sound to produce one of the records of the year
Point the Flashlight and Walk is the third record from Told Slant – the brainchild of Brooklyn’s Felix Walworth – and their first two records have earned them cult like status amongst fans thanks to their sparse, lo-fi blend of indie rock and devastatingly honest, often heart-wrenching, lyrics.
On opening track, Meet You in The City, Walworth’s distinctive voice is instantly recognisable, but is already enveloped in a fuller production than previous efforts. Walworth has always had a knack for creating singalong moments to even the most agonising of lyrics – highlighted here on Bullfrog Choirs as they sit and mediate on the thought, ‘For the rest of my life / Will I Gnaw at this bone? / That I am always alone.’
Point the Flashlight and Walk shows off the versatility of Walworth’s voice and how it can be manipulated to reinforce the lyrics. On Fog on the Glass, at times, it sounds like their voice could give way under the strain of emotion at any moment; while album standout, Flashlight On, gives us Walworth at their most assertive – hammering home their rallying cry for the helpless – ‘I’ve spent so much of my life with no passion at all / Just want to get lost, point the flashlight and walk.’
None of the intimacy or emotion is lost in the more coloured and spacious atmosphere of Point the Flashlight and Walk. The album was written and recorded by Walworth – alone in their bedroom – and, at times, it feels like we’re sat right there with them. Family Still, which explores themes of devotion and separation – ‘You’re my family still / Even though we don’t talk now’ – seamlessly flows into the stunning No Backpack, which builds into a heavier atmosphere, perhaps matching Walworth at their most venerable – ‘When there’s someone you’re devoted to / you’re always living with a trap door under you.’
Point the Flashlight and Walk is not a radical change in sound for Told Slant, but it does feel like a natural progression, and the album’s luscious production is a fitting home for Walworth’s captivating song writing. A truly stunning album and their most accomplished to date.
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