The two labels that put out this DIVIDERS record said it best – “Dividers speed up and purify these folk melodies.” Fourwalls Farewell is the Toulouse-based band’s debut LP, released by both Casbah and Beast Records out of France.
Fourwalls Farewell is like an ancient artifact the band dug up somewhere in a sandy desert and then decided to practice it, learn it precisely and give it its very own garage-punk swagger. Despite their finishing touches, all signs still point toward folk and alternative-country twang with a pure and honest delivery that grows on you as if a leech would while feasting on your blood. Fourwalls ranges from these alt-country slowburners to invigorating punk bangers with traces of pop, folksy bandit rock and rowdy drinking anthems. They don’t limit themselves and it keeps you listening closely as they continue to pull from their grab bag of dusty garage-friendly genres. Their guitars are gritty and sandblasted, the percussion hits hard and heavy, all while frontman Ismael Ardan’s vocals come with their own distinct slurs as he weaves in his witty lyrics. The end result is anything but forgetful.
The LP takes flight with “Fuck the World,” opening with slinky bass lines and stretchy guitar twangs, not to mention Ardan’s moody voice who may remind you of Robert Smith for a couple of moments. Guitars froth up with fuzz while the wail of the harmonica gives it all that rusty, desert-ready tone. “Empty Rooms” barges in as a blitzing alt-punk stomper with squealing guitars, delivering the albums shortest entry in just over 2 minutes. They slow the manic pace with “Hambourg” and its sunny and drawn-out streaks of reverberated guitar. “XXX” begins the sweet mid-section of the LP, bursting with singable anthems and decorated with just the right amount of synthesizer. “Touching You” starts cool and calm with acoustic guitars and Ardan’s breathy voice before the rowdy bandit anthem charges in. Guitars create a stream of melodic noise, boasting a bluesy solo over a torrent of rapid and razor-sharp guitar plucking. The bass dips and bounces with low-end frequencies, advancing the track with a definitive gallop that firmly takes a hold.
“Never Wanna See You Again” puts the pedal to the metal and never looks back. It’s driven by a two-chord crunch and explosive percussion, forcing you over the edge with their two-pronged attack. They flip the fuzz switch and you find yourself in the thick of a buzzing beam of guitar that to some of us is complete, racket-fueled bliss. “The Way of the Brave” slithers open with a click-clack rhythm and bright, jangly guitars as Ardan spits his nasally words. He’s reciting infectious and memorable lyrical hooks – “I can see the vultures flying around in circles,” or “It was good to see you/ was good to talk/ a cup of coffee and I’ll walk.” – over the looming urgency and longing feeling that grows within. Noisy guitars complement the vocal melody, then you’re suddenly awash in a palpable storm of righteously seething guitar fuzz. They break it down one last time before a crushing, world-affirming guitar solo tears it all wide open.
“Grey Song” ends the LP on a somber note where tambourine percussion and shadowy vocals call the shots. Guitars shine through on occasion like speckles of sunlight cast on the ground through the leaves of a tree. There’s a wind instrument in there (?), providing extra depth with an orchestral quality under the mystifying acoustics.
The tracks below represent some of our favorites, but you should really be listening to the whole record for maximum impact. You can buy the LP right here – you’re going to need this one. I know I do.
My Rating: SS
Genre/ Tags: Garage Rock, Alt-Country, Folk, Punk
Fourwalls Farewell LP: Tracklist:
1.) Fuck the World
2.) Empty Rooms
5.) Touching You
6.) Never Wanna See You Again
7.) The Way of the Brave
8.) Gonna Get Drunk
10.) Grey Song