Brett Walker – Straight Jacket Vacation

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Review by Woody

AOR Heaven

It feels a little weird approaching this review following the untimely and tragic death of Brett Walker literally a few weeks ago. I know this will influence a lot of reviewers to listen to this album with rose tinted-ears and announce Straight Jacket Vacation a modern day classic. I’m going to approach my review like I would any other, putting aside Brett’s extremely sad passing, as I think this would be more respectful to his memory. Brett was a very popular song writer in melodic rock circles even though he has very little solo work to his name and he will be greatly missed.

Straight Jacket Vacation is a laid-back, acoustic-driven, soft rock album, one I’m sure Brett was very proud of and quite rightly so. It is a very enjoyable album but I have to add that it is far from a classic. I think any melodic rock fan that approaches this album with the right expectations of some quality singer/songwriter, heartfelt Americana is really going to enjoy this collection of songs. It’s hard define the sound of the album as Brett has mixed some different qualities into his songs, some have modern country twists, some a southern-rock edge and others even a touch of West Coast. It makes some of these pop rock-edged songs really quirky and this sense of quirkiness may put AOR purists off.

Brett has a very rich vocal and his style very much suits this style of mellow, acoustic-driven rock. There are many little influences in there but the bands that tend to come to mind are bands like the Gin Blossoms, Del Amitiri and the Goo Goo Dolls and so there’s a modern pop-rock edge to the album as a whole.

There are a few songs which failed to make a big impression on me, but the ones that do are really memorable. Brett has done a re-working of his AOR anthem ‘Waiting For Love’ which he co-wrote for Alias back in the day. It actually works really well, stripped down a little and sparser but it’s a real stand out track here and that killer chorus still gives me chills. There is constant feel good ambience to most of the songs which I really like and I highly advise people check out songs like ‘Better Than Goodbye’, ‘Reaching For The Stars’ and ‘So Happy’.

Straight Jacket Vacation is not a perfect album but contains some really enjoyable tracks. I’m sure fans of Brett’s song writing will be kept very happy by it and it is a cool epitaph of the man’s talents. If you like acoustic-driven, soft rock with a mellow, laid-back side to it, this album comes highly recommended.

R.I.P Brett and thanks for the music.

Brett Walker - Straight Jacket Vacation7 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Reaching For The Stars
  2. What About You
  3. Better Than Goodbye
  4. Streetlight Burning
  5. I’ll Bet It Hurts
  6. More Than I
  7. Good Enough
  8. Waiting For Love
  9. I’m Gonna Fly
  10. So Happy
  11. Unlucky At Love
  12. Someday I’m Gonna Be Famous

 

1 COMMENT

  1. A fair review Woody, balanced and honest. He blands out just a little too often on his solo stuff, which is disappointing considering he co-wrote ‘Waiting For Love’, a classic by any melodic rock standards.

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