I like Americans. I like them not only because they appear to be the only other country in the world who seem to like the British for anything other than their pound infused spending power, but also because spending any amount of time with them (I spent several long work assignments over there) means that you are instantly caught up in their infectious enthusiasm that encompasses even life's minutiae.
I remember being something of a celebrity 'Limey' when I was there. I would get surprise invites to all sorts social events, just to be hoisted into into the middle of a group of soccer mommy types and told to 'say something' because apparently it was 'so cute'. The adulation I received for merely speaking, was always expressed with hoots of enthusiasm about my 'cuteness'. As I am not exactly blessed with Brad Pitt like qualities 'cute' was mentally deciphered as an ego boost.
Similarly at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, England were drawn to play the US in some rough old mining town a couple of several hours away from where I live. My mates and I, many of whom had traveled from England, were amazed at how much money American Soccer fans were prepared to spend buying us pints of beer just for the sheer joy of seeing seeing the British indulge in binge drinking that the rest of the world hates us partaking in. I certainly wish I could shake of the shackles of British stoicism and be so easily pleased.
Ardivan Walks have this sort of American infectious enthusiasm...despite themselves. They tout themselves as being influenced by all manner of melancholic Australian jangle-pop (Aussies are culturally very much like the Brits in terms of stoicism, just better at sport) and indeed the laconic jangle that is almost buried apologetically behind the often gloom-laden lyrical delivery is undeniably all things Australian / Triple J, with bands like 90's favourites The Summer Suns and Bike being the most obvious reference points.
However, the real allure of Ardivan Walks is that juxtaposed within the aforementioned melancholy, is that barely concealed enthusiasm that Americans omit. It is this quality that gives much of this album an intriguing aesthetic paradox. For instance tracks such as the brilliant opening double salvo of Long Con (see below) and Coffee in A Cup, accompanied by the album's true stand out in Soaked provide lyrics of desolation and/or crestfallen vocals that are always married to the sort of specific chopped out jangled guitar work that may be more appropriately aligned to some of the Brooklyn based jangle-pop bands. What ever description your aural interpretation finally rests upon, their is no denying the aesthetic ensures any listener is truly engaged throughout the entirety of the album
However, this album shows Ardivan Walks to be a band that can grab the attention on multiple levels. Tracks such as Dig Me Out and the intro/outro of Wandering Pt.2 (see below) show that they are prepared to throw away the rule book when it comes to conventional song structures as both tracks deliver their jangle in a sort of 'Meat Puppets weird' manner. Similarly a track such as Lost Boys, the bulk of Wandering Pt.2 and Out of Hand still keep one foot firmly in the sort of bedroom pop feel that dominated their 2015 self titled EP (with the latter two tracks also appearing on the EP).
Ardivan Walks may not be enmeshed in the sort of 'cool aura' that the Brooklyn janglers are engulfed in but in terms of solid, everyday, almost blue collar jangle-pop for the everyday man, this album is certainly up there with the best.
Bandcamp (Buy It Here)