Seven Seven – Machine Translations
By Aidan Roberts
Seven Seven, as the title suggests, is the seventh album for DIY musical explorer J. Walker, that mysterious Victorian whose home-grown recordings have aged to cult classic status, here and overseas. Recorded in isolation in his “general store” in South Gippsland, Seven Seven is a cinematic and satisfying listen, rich with fresh, splintered instrumentation. Walker’s trademark rumpled baritone lulls and whispers throughout Seven Seven’s moody tales, singing with a knowing abandon on the uptempo tracks. Walker’s suave ditty style is taken to further effect with two sister songs, You’ll Change and I’m Changed, the latter echoing the crusty jangle-rock of mid-1970’s John Lennon. Opener Everything Feels New nods along with an eerie certainty, echoed later in the record with O Ma, The Sea Is Rising, a magnificent slumbering affair, stormy acoustics seem to heave with the rise and fall of the melody and Walker’s genius string and choir arrangements. Though a long time coming, there are no disappointments here, all the material having a clear unity and purpose to its being, leaving a lonely, thrilling resonance with every repeated listen. Wonderful, wonderful stuff.