Arthur Walwin is a singer/songwriter in the truest sense of the term. Having spent two years honing his songwriting and production skills, he gifts us with this cracking debut album: Sleepless. Whilst writing and producing a debut album is no small feat, Walwin goes one better and manages to defy convention by producing a collection of tracks that are radio friendly yet preserve his rock influences. Sleepless’ eleven tracks cover a wide range of sounds. Dotted around the predominately pop/rock tracks are a number of chart bangers and even a country flavoured number.
Opening track “White Wine” lets us know that Walwin means business. The infectious hook is introduced after 10 seconds and leaves you feeling that this guy is trying to make quite an impression. Thankfully, the quality is there to match the ambition. “White Wine” highlights all of Walwin’s strongest assets. His voice could be likened to a less depressing Ed Sheeran crossed with a classic California punk howl. In terms of production, Sleepless cannot be faulted, there is plenty of detail without ever overloading the listener, and everything has that crisp sheen.
Surprisingly, Sleepless is littered with tracks of a similarly high quality to “White Wine”.
“Seeing Her” turns the punk influence up to eleven with a ripping chorus that also includes some very nice synth work, whilst “Bad” combines Walwin’s rock influences with a more chill ambiance. Lead single, “This Feels like Summer”, is an annoyingly catchy tune, whose acoustic/rock style emulates artists like Blink 182 and Avril Lavigne. Whilst it’s an infectious and well written tune, the chorus can begin to feel a little incessant, as if Walwin is trying to beat the listener into submission. Perhaps a case of trying a little too hard?
As Sleepless progresses, the mood develops. The upbeat, rock exuberance gives way to a more diverse range of songs that are nonetheless just as accomplished. “Chance” has a curious country twinge that just works, the delay soaked “Void” provides another hook that you’ll be singing in your sleep whilst closing track “LoCal” is a mature and fitting ballad that brings an end to an album that seems to track Walwin’s evolution as a songwriter.
As far as debut albums go, Sleepless is as good as it gets. The time and attention Arthur Walwin has put into this album really shines through and from the songwriting to the production there is very little to find fault with.
An excellent debut from a seriously talented artist.