Based out of Oregon/California/wherever they decide they’re living for the moment, Walter Mitty And His Makeshift Orchestra have been a part of the DIY community of the West Coast for a few years now. The band’s acoustic beachy songs lend themselves to sing-a-long live shows that seem more like parties than performances (in the best way possible). Their latest album, Well Soon, is a record that’s been highly anticipated by anyone who paid attention to 2011’s Overwhelmed And Underdressed.
In '101 N,' the second track off of Overwhelmed, vocalist/guitarist Dustin sings “I’m living proof you can still sing the blues in 2011.” Well, the new album proves he can still do it in 2014. The album as a whole is slightly mellower, but not without the catchy lyrics, and the kazoo jams that every Walter Mitty fan has learned to appreciate. 'Compersion' immediately sets the tone with the line “Nowadays, it's fairly apparent, I suffer from severe disenchantment".”The frustration of life in your early-twenties and reluctant entrance into the ‘real world’ is a major theme of the album, and it carries into the second track 'Post-Graduation Oblivion'. The two are tied together seamlessly - something that's done incredibly well on this album. Well Soon is the most cohesive and perfectly sequenced album that I have listened to in a while; it flows beautifully and begs to be listened to in one sitting.
In addition to this, Well Soon has some tracks that truly stand out, including the perfect pairing of 'Good Grace if Only' and 'Breathe Funny'. The latter begins with a subtle homage to Brand New’s 'The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows' and goes on to be one of the more upbeat tracks on the record, leading into two more breakout tracks 'Full Body Yawn', a song full of personal yet relatable self-reflection, and 'Walks on Alberta' which has one of the strongest and catchiest verses on the album. Well Soon's lyrics read like a college-aged friend talking about their life and their worries- for instance the description of the boring relationship in 'Holy Cannoli' or the uncertainty in 'Strange Euphoria' - “Pick up your phone, your calling's calling, and he longs to find you a fate that's riddled by a gut feeling too vague.” Or in 'Fine Thanks',where the disinterest in dealing with the monetary responsibility of adulthood is at the forefront - “I swear I'm not afraid of the world, I'm just afraid of the bank...I'm not opposed to living in my van.”
Overall, Well Soon maintains the general vibe of Walter Mitty’s previous releases while improving the quality of both the recording and songwriting. It starts out as a relaxing, pleasant summer record, but before long it’s more than that. With continued listening, the lyrics stick in your head but, oddly, you’re left with a feeling not of the largely pessimistic outlook of the album, but one closer to the final line of 'Post Graduation Oblivion' – “Oh, I’ve got this funny feeling we’ll be fine.”
Well Soon can be purchased from Lauren Records and, if you’re in the states, you can go see Walter Mitty & His Makeshift Orchestra on their big US tour in the fall which includes The Fest in Gainesville, FL. Bring your dancing shoes and a kazoo.
by Nick Ball/whatstheruckus.com