The Walkup – Down on Pacific

You have to plan ahead when you rock with The Walkup. Any lack of preparation could leave you in serious need of a geography lesson because this New York based group does not bring to mind visions of shining skyscrapers. In fact, they don’t sound like an East Coast band at all. They instead evoke the scenes of sunny beaches crawling along the Pacific Coast. Their aptly named debut album Down on Pacific features ten tracks with a consistent quality throughout, setting the group up for a bright future.

Down on Pacific is the result of the unified musical influence of each of the band’s members. The lead vocals, sung by Alex Koch, remind me of Morrissey if he had a sunnier disposition. I can picture the smirk on Koch’s lips as he sings with a moody and pleading tone. Enhanced by a slight echo effect, Koch’s vocals create the illusion of a live show rather than a studio recording. His vocals are accompanied by chord progressions that straddle the line between East and West Coast alternative rock, applied by guitarist Sean Finnigan.

Rounding out the group we find Michael Petrucelly and Christopher Ayoub, who supply the Walkup’s somewhat repetitive rhythm section. These four have managed to capture a sound that is so popular these days and turn it into something different and original. The album’s opening track, “My Youth,” does a great job of getting my feet tapping and head bopping. It sets the tone for the rest of the record, which is filled with more up-tempo tunes, keeping the listener’s mood upbeat and perky.

The funky bass intro to “The Long Hours” by Ayoub screams for my attention immediately. I find myself singing along with the catchy-as-hell hook in the chorus and banging my head like the “rag doll” they speak of. The band chooses a thematic rhythm which resonates throughout Down on Pacific creating a sound I can only associate with The Walkup, successfully keeping their songs uniform but not identical.

The Walkup’s signature sound is fairly heavy with their self-stated influences of other groups bleeding through. “Conversation” made me believe I had accidentally started playing “London Calling” by The Clash. Sounding like The Clash is never a problem, as long as an original sound is maintained. I was pleased to hear that the similarities did not carry throughout the entire tune: the heavy beat that is sustained throughout the verse, consisting of down stroke strumming on one chord develops nicely into a heartsick alternative rock melody throughout the chorus. Along with the surprise appearance of a synthesizer, the song builds up towards its somewhat climactic end.

If they continue to release albums of this caliber, The Walkup will have cemented themselves into the music scene for life. A combination of The Beach Boys‘ party-time attitude with The Smiths moody and broody ways is a match made in New York.

Pick up a copy of Down on Pacific out June 3, 2008.

The Walkup: website | myspace
Reynold’s Recording Company: website

by Jenna

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