Peter Walker
"Landed"

(Dangerbird Records 2004)Peter Walker - Landed

Peter Walker seems to have assembled an all star cast. For his album of soft rock tunes hinted with a blues and country feel, "Landed," Walker rallied Jay Bennett, Justin Meldal-Johnson and Joey Waronker, who you may know from Wilco, Beck and REM, respectively. Not bad, huh? But with all that experience, "Landed," you would think, would be a collection of memorable tunes that are deep and rich in tone and perhaps a bit poppy. Instead, "Landed" is rigid and stuffy despite the effort on each song to sound light and fun.

With a chorus that reminds of the refrain of the Hollys' "Bus Stop," "I'm Through" is as up beat and up tempo as Walker gets his gruff, raspy vocals just the right accent to the guitar riff rock. Meanwhile "Please" sways gently and Walker's vocals suddenly soften for a more melodic result and "Invitation" uses a bouncy rhythm and smooth vocal. A simple keyboard melody helps to make "Different Kind of Romance" catchy and adds a unique feel to "Landed." Walker offers thoughtful ballads with "Regular Woman" and the tender and heartbreaking "I Came Around" where bass thumps, understated, in the shadows and guitar solos churn gently and methodically. Piano and guitar mingle as Walker strips things down to the basics for "Neighbor" and guitars resonate on the soft "Gone Away."

As each song remaining soft, the cornerstone of "Landed" is the rhythms that help to make it. Added to those rhythms are layers of gently blended harmonies that take the songs from just being light to being soft rock. Walker's songs remain minimalist and unassuming throughout, never really taking off.

B-

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