Review Summary: Love will conquer these feelingsImpersonator
is a personal record. It’s an emotional record. It’s a record that becomes more endearing as it goes on, captivating the listener with the longing for acceptance and love, something to which we can all relate. Some of us may have found these desires in life, and some are still searching. The latter group especially will connect strongly with these oh-so-human feelings presented throughout the album, making for an incredibly fulfilling and cathartic listening experience.
Majical Cloudz is a duo consisting of Devon Walsh (vocals) and Matthew Otto (production). Walsh’s voice is absolutely the focal point of the music, with humble synths and light percussion complimenting his singing. The production can be sparse at times, but this isn’t a fault; it just accentuates the style and atmosphere for which Majical Cloudz is striving. The focus on vocals allows us to concentrate on what Walsh has to say, and that’s important. This is a record about longing for something more; there is uncertainty in the air, and he wants to change that. In the end, though, he just wants to be loved [“I wanna feel like somebody’s darling”], but the feeling is not always reciprocated [“Love goes down / I feel down”].
These lyrics may not seem so profound, but the vocal delivery of Walsh captivates the listener with every word being sung. He sings mostly in a lower register (reminiscent of The National), with the occasional use of falsetto on some oohs bridging to the next chorus or verse. His voice is quite distinguishable, and he is a fairly dynamic singer given the relatively small range he limits himself to when singing. His voice is most effective on songs such as “Silver Rings,” where he seems restrained until the song builds up, at which point Walsh gives it his all and croons very loudly, acting as an emotional release of sorts, as well as a pay-off for the listener.
The background production also uses his voice generously, almost to the same degree as the synths and percussion elements. In fact, percussion isn’t introduced until the third track, giving the listener time to get accustomed to the voice/synth combo that is prevalent throughout the record. The record deviates from this moderately homogenous production on a couple tracks. On the stand-out, “Turns Turns Turns,” delayed drums and reverbed vocals complement each other to create a nostalgic atmosphere unlike any other on the record. The array of powerful emotions that Majical Cloudz is able to evoke is really quite impressive, especially considering the inherently sparse nature of the duo.
This isn’t a happy record, but it is a hopeful record. There is acknowledgment of a regretful childhood and past faults on the earlier tracks, but similar to their placement on the album, these can be put behind us. In fact, the album grows and improves as it goes on, it terms of production layers and quality. Maybe we haven’t been accepted in the past because we haven’t been ourselves. We’ve been impersonating others, trying to please others. In the end, maybe we need to impersonate ourselves
in order to find love and certainty in life.
Follow your heart, I guess. Or as Devon Walsh puts it on the closing track,
“Love will conquer these feelings. Yeah.”