Album review by Phil M.
Prolific Oxford-born artist Richard Walters has released his new solo album – ‘Murmurate’. Written in 2022 and recorded at London’s Eastcote Studios with Eliot James producing and mixing, the album is born out of, but not inspired by the pandemic we are told.
Having had airplay on BBC radio and had several of his tracks featured in American TV shows such as Bones and Grey’s Anatomy Walters has a pedigree and sound back catalogue, he has also been a member of the group LYR (along with poet laureate Simon Armitage and Patrick Pearson) and released the album ‘Shapes in My Head’ under the name Sun Lo. Add to that a collaboration with ATTLAS that was released earlier this year he has certainly made himself busy since the end of the pandemic.
The album title is inspired by how Zoom calls during the pandemic were unable to connect, and in particular finding common musical ground- “I just wanted to feel that unison again, to move in time with other songwriters and musicians, to flock and gather and soar a little bit, even if the distance from my homelife made me feel torn from time to time.” Walters tells us.
The opening track ‘Move On’ starts thoughtfully with piano and synth backing before a deep bass vibe gives my sub-woofer a good workout. The theme of the track is the need for people to move on after an argument. The overall sound here, and through most of the album is largely of low-key thoughtfulness. ‘All Over’ is about the end of a relationship or life and was co-written with Ed Holloway. Strings introduce an atmospheric keyboard intro and vocals are understated in the verse, again over a heavy bass synth sound. The chorus is memorable with the haunting lyrics.
‘After Midnight’ tells us of growing age, and not wanting to be out late partying and looking forward to the cab home, a common theme to Walters friends of a certain age we’re told. ‘Lost in Your Light’ follows and is a little more upbeat but maintains the overall atmospheric feel of the album.
‘Anchor’ was written about Walters being away a lot from his daughters and ‘Salt’ that follows, has a softly strummed guitar and along with album closer ‘Skye’ speaks to Walter’s love of the sea and open air and wanting to be away from the claustrophobic cities and towns.
‘Avenues’ starts with piano and is about the end of a relationship in Paris, which was co-written with Patrick Pearson. The feeling here has a lilting feel and rhythm. ‘Long Way Down’ is a positive take on the progress he’s made as an artist. Some of the vocal harmonies recall some of the more soulful Steve Miller work for me.
PSH was written about one of Walter’s heroes – American actor Philip Seymour Hoffman who passed away in 2014 and imagines his passing.
I’ll return to my earlier comments, this is a thoughtfully put together album with a great deal of atmosphere and nice instrumentation woven through the tracks.
He’s supporting the release of the album (due on 17th November) with a few dates in the UK:
24 Nov – BRISTOL, The Louisiana
25 Nov – OXFORD, Jericho Tavern
29 Nov – MANCHESTER, The Castle Hotel
30 Nov – LONDON, The Grace
- Move On
- All Over
- After Midnight
- Lost in Your Light
- Open Everything
- Long Way Down
- Atlantic Lullaby