Josh Farro, an ex member of Paramore, has finally returned to the music scene with Walkways after the failed band Novel American. If you’re looking for a 2007 / 2009 Paramore substitute — you’re barking up the wrong tree. On Farro first solo album, the closest you’ll get is his song “On a Wire.”
Though Farro hasn’t been a lead vocalist before, his voice is up to the challenge. It’s not very powerful, but it is suitable for what he does. Farro’s music is the kind that can stand alone — his voice doesn’t try to steal the show, rather he blends it in as more of a harmonizing instrument. If you like The Postal Service, Coldplay, and Owl City / Sky Sailing, that’ll give you some idea of what he sounds like.
His song-writing skills have not gotten rusty in their accidental hiatus. It’s easy to tell that Farro was once an integral part of the album-making process for Paramore. The music comes together in a nearly flawlessly. That being said, it’s not suitable for much more than chill study music. It’ll lift you up in an almost unrelentingly optimistic way.
“Cliffs” is the first single off the album, and it sets the tone. It’s the song you spin if you need a little extra push to take a leap of faith. As such, it perfectly reflects how the album is Farro’s turn at jumping off cliffs and taking the plunge.
If you’re looking for some great drumming — provided by Farro’s brother and fellow ex-Paramore member Zac — “Color Rush” is the one for you. It starts off sounding like it’s going to be a super-catchy upbeat tune. It even has an almost bit of whimsy to it. Then when the vocals hit, it changes up into something still upbeat but withdrawn almost. The power in his voice peeks out through the chorus, and it just kind of makes you lust for more of that confidence throughout the album.
“On a Wire” is my favourite song — again the power of his voice creeps through the tightly-knit music. There’s a rawness to the regret transparent in the guitar riffs and lyrical delivery. The lyrics are bang on, and really the entire album has rock solid lyrics. “A glass of wine, a medication for the past. The hands of time can’t turn around, can’t take it back.”
Farro wraps up his album brilliantly with “Home.” In both the lyrics and the music, you are guided to an ending. “And this time I found my way back home. Back home.”
The one thing I hope for Farro, if he releases new music, is that he cultivates the snippets of confidence and power in his voice. Once he does that, I think he’ll have a perfect blend of musicality to complement his talent.