Walkway - WWIII

5 (excellent)
5 (excellent)
Stand out moments: 
Stutter, Get a Grip, Leap of Faith, Kiss Me Hard, Right Here Right Now

It’s rare that I enjoy an album from a newer band, but as I was working my way through a Spotify playlist featuring 300+ songs from bands of The New Wave of Classic Rock (NWOCR), I stumbled across Walkway. They immediately stood out to me on that playlist from a plethora of other bands that are mostly the sons and cousins of AC/DC.  There are tons of bands now going for that AC/DC kind of sound and feel, where every song on the album is a riffy-ass kicker, and yeah, that’s all well and good in-the-moment, but most of those songs are forgotten the minute after you’ve heard them. 

Walkway are different. Hailing from East Anglia (of course they’re British), Walkway were founded by Ready brothers — Chris (28) on lead vocals and guitar, and James (26) on lead guitar and backing vocals. I note their ages because given the quality of songwriting and musicianship on WWIII, those ages shocked the hell out of me. This musical duo is talented well beyond their years. 

Chris has a great, classic rock voice with plenty of range and character. His influences include Steven Tyler, Steve Perry, Robert Plant, and Don Henley. James has been playing since he was 10 and cites Van Halen, Satriani, and Bonamassa among his influences. He’s already really good, but at only 26, I’d bet his best guitar work is still ahead of him. Together, the brothers deliver classic, Dino-rock vocals and guitars exactly as you want to hear them: Loud, heavy, dynamic, and dramatic. The band’s rhythm section has changed over time, but currently features Mik Skiba on bass, and Andy Burlace on drums. Both are excellent players who complement the band’s songs admirably.  

Instrumentation aside, what really separates Walkway from the rest of the pack is their songwriting. WWIII's songs are instantly catchy! Unlike so many other newer “heavy” bands, Walkway writes terrific, poppy hooks that make their choruses really sticky. They then drive them home with rich, vocal harmonies that are poppy enough to create memorability, without detracting from the album's sonic heaviness. Walkway's first two albums are poppier and less heavy. WWIII represents a quantum leap from its predecessors, both sonically, and in the songwriting.  

Every song on this album will have you singing along with the chorus hook by the end of the first listen. And those hooks will stay with you long after the album’s over. That’s some Beatles kind of shit, there. You might expect that from seasoned, 30-year veteran bands from rock's glory days, but it rarely comes (anymore) from a songwriting team that’s still in their 20s. 

But make no mistake, Walkway on WWIII are a heavy band featuring some great, original (not AC/DC style), crunchy, riff-oriented songs, and old-school Dino-style lead guitar work. Still, Walkway are not one-dimensional. They are not afraid to pull out an acoustic ballad — Holding On To Letting Go, the poppier, Casey, and the totally infectious Right Here, Right Now. These moments of depth — the hallmarks of rock's greatest bands — are most welcome here, and a big differentiator between Walkway and this era's also-rans.  But the backbone of the album are rockers such as Stutter, Get a Grip, Kiss Me Hard, and Leap of Faith — all of which are sticky-as-fuck and will stay in your head long after WWIII’s last song finishes.  

WWIII would be my album-of-the year thus far in 2019, but sadly, I am late to the game on both Walkway and this album which was released in 2017. No matter! WWIII shows a quite promising band, still on the way up. I am definitely looking forward to hearing what these guys come up with next!  Check out WWIII on Spotify, and if you like it, buy the damn album! Music like this must be supported and encouraged!

Overall Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)
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