REVIEW: Later ‘Walking the Line’

Fast-rising French outfit, ‘Later’ release their debut LP, ‘Walking the Line’. A sleek and cool record packed full of funk-laden guitar hooks and house-influenced piano tones it’s a record that bends genres to its own whim.

Opening up the album is, ‘Back to Heaven’ and it instantly sets the mood of what’s in store. The vocals lead in with almost barber-shop quartet like sound, before sleek electro-jazz comes into play with a slap bass riff that drives the track forward blissfully. The vocal delivery is light and airy, it sores above the mix, allowing the grooves to drive the track forward.

Within the following track, ‘Walking the Line’ the bass riff is again the driving force behind the track, but the use of synth and keys give the track its house edge. The juxtaposition leaves the track feelings as if it would be as at home in a disco or a club. The guitar riffs within the track again drive that funky edge, taking influence from players such as John Frusciante or Jimmy Hendrix.

This is not to say that, ‘Walking the Line’ doesn’t have its darker, more introspective moments. ‘Woman’ makes brilliant use of piano, elevating the tracks with a beautiful elegance. It dances with the guitar licks creating an incredibly intense backdrop that the crooning vocals then build off. ‘She’s Coming’ also revels in this darker atmosphere with another beautiful piano riff that in any other context would be the perfect sample for a classic Chicago house track but here builds a darker atmosphere.

‘Like I’d Give You My Love’ is the point within the album where the darker, more brooding elements perfectly gel with the up-beat dance, funk that runs through a large portion of the album. The drums are low-key which gives the perfect foundation for the expertly crafter bass riff to build upon. The vocals, however, give the track a sense of unease. The repeated refrain of, ‘like I’d give you my love’ give the track an underlying sense of anger.

Closing out the album is the truly brilliant, ‘Lemon Trees’. It again leads in with great, grandiose piano lead which truly gives the track a sense of finality. The vocals open with a spoken word style, a piece of spoken word poetry as opposed to the jazz-funk-house hybrid the listener has become accustom to. They sway with the vocals taking the album out of the ecstasy fuelled clubs to the smoke filled cabaret halls.

‘Walking the Line’ is exceptional fusing of styles, all gelling together for a captivating listen. It’s house music for the modern age, paying homage to what’s come before but not looking back for too long. Whether it’s a club or jazz bar this album will make the perfect accompaniment.