Warning left a gaping hole in the UK’s doom scene when they disbanded, so when Patrick Walker reignited his career with 40 Watt Sun, ‘The Inside Room’ was met with fervent appreciation, as the 2011 debut followed the same emotionally wrought blueprint as ‘Watching from a Distance’. The follow up has been hotly anticipated and the pressure has really been on Walker and co. to live up to the hype of the last five years. ‘Wider Than The Sky’ is what they have delivered and it’s a different beast entirely.
What’s immediately noticeable is that the musical compositions have been flayed to their bare bones, stripping back the distortion to reveal minimalist arrangements in place of heavy, heart rending doom. ‘Wider Than The Sky’ still has all of the melodic sensibilities of ‘The Inside Room’, however. Patrick’s voice takes on most of the heavy lifting, allowing the emotion to shine through, aided by pristine production quality. Soft chords and understated drumming provide gentle instrumentals that genuinely allow for his voice to take centre stage.
This record is just as poignant as its predecessor, if not, more so – without relying on the atmosphere provided by reverb and distortion, raw emotion is pushed to the forefront, shining a spotlight on Walker’s vocal performance and the beauty that lies in the simplicity of the acoustics. This isn’t a release that plays heavy on the ears, but certainly one that bares a burden of weight on both heart and mind.
(8/10 Angela Davey)