Personnel: Patrick Sheehy (vocals, acoustic guitar); Dan Devane (guitar, background vocals); Sorcha Durham (piano, keyboards, background vocals); Evan Hadnett (drums); Roy Kerr, Jack Ruston, Tim Bran (programming); Paul Flannery (background vocals).
Recording information: State Of The Ark, London.
Arranger: Ben Moriarty.
On their debut album, Everything This Way (Virgin EMI), Ireland's Walking on Cars deliver piano-driven rock with huge singalongs in the yearning tradition of forebears Snow Patrol and Coldplay. Over the course of 12 songs, Walking on Cars unveil song after song that would be equally comfortable on modern rock and Top 20 radio. Singer Patrick Sheehy jumps from a raw, gritty growl to angelic falsetto peaks, like on the spiritual "Two Stones" and the plaintive raver "At Gunpoint." The band do a great job in providing power and urgency, especially with Evan Hadnett's drumming; album opener "Catch Me If You Can" gallops along, with pounding percussion and a wall of voices akin to big-sound contemporaries Of Monsters and Men and the Lumineers. From the more plaintive moments ("Tick Tock" and "Flying High Flying Low") to the sparkling and airy pop/rock ("Don't Mind Me" and "Love Backs Down"), the group's secret weapon is pianist Sorcha Durham, who provides both delicate backing harmony and propelling piano melodies to each track. The band's sound is not unlike that of any other equally emotive rock bands, however their cohesion and knack for big hooks hint at potentially distinctive anthems in albums to come. ~ Neil Z. Yeung