"Field Manual" by Chris Walla (2008)
Chris Walla Walla, down by the mango tree.
Known more commonly for being the lead guitarist for popular Indie-Poppers Death Cab For Cutie and high in demand producer for the likes of such bands as The Decemberists, Nada Surf and Tegan & Sara, Chris Walla has finally gotten around to releasing his own proper solo debut. The oft-delayed Field Manual, which originally was supposed to be released back in March 2007 with the title It's Unsustainable, finally sees the light of day after numerous reworkings and even a confiscation at the Canadian border some months back (no joke!).
Walla, who's been Ben Gibbard of DCFC's right hand man for nearly a decade now actually has a similar sounding voice to that of Gibbard and even early 90's Alt-Rock staple Matthew Sweet, even though it's nowhere near as engaging as either of those two. When Walla cranks up the Rock on stand out tracks such as "The Score" or "Archer v. Light" it's easy to forgive how thin Walla's voice really is and just enjoy the tunes in and of themselves. When the album goes into ballad mode however (which is almost the rest of album in fact) Field Manual is pleasant sounding but, to be honest, an absolute bore. Death Cab For Cutie fans will be pleased to know that Field Manual was just a pet project and there are plans to release a new DCFC record later on this year. If Field Manual teaches us anything, it's that maybe Walla should just stick to guitar and production work in the future.
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