Walking Papers: Walking Papers

Seattle supergroup proves less is very much more.

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To describe this project from Seattle veterans Jeff Angell (guitars/vocals) and Barrett Martin (drums/assorted percussion) as ‘blues rock’, as they do themselves, really doesn’t do justice to the breadth of songs on offer. Initially a duo, they added Duff McKagan (bass) back in the summer, and have created nothing short of a minor masterpiece of mood and tension.

Sure, there are rockers on offer – Red Envelopes with its horn section, and the grinding swagger of Capital T – but it’s the stripped back, delicate compositions – Already Dead, The Butcher, A Place Like This – that truly get under the skin. On these tracks, Angell’s voice and poised guitar/piano are complemented by Martin on drums, marimba or vibraphone, like they’re scoring a bleak, monochrome thriller.

Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready provides a couple of guitar solos to add some guest-star variety, but the real quality of this album lies in its sparse, poetic beauty.