SPREADING THE DISEASE
Released on April 22, 2022 (W.A.L.K.E.R)
The Irish rockers W.A.L.K.E.R who are spearheaded by lead vocalist / guitarist Glenn Walker and lead guitarist Kelan Hughes are back with their follow up EP Spreading The Disease to their phenomenal debut EP Bringing Rock Back. The group intended on releasing Spreading The Disease back in 2020 but we all know how the world, and especially the music industry, was brought to a standstill with the advent of the Covid pandemic. That is quite unfortunate because it felt like W.A.L.K.E.R were on the rise prior to the Covid pandemic rearing its ugly head. After all, W.A.L.K.E.R‘s debut EP Bringing Rock Back landed the #3 spot on the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2019. For me, the Sleaze Roxx year end album lists are the benchmarks for what are the truly great albums of any given year and that was even well before I took the reigns of the website more than seven years ago.
Perhaps the passage of time or simply not being totally blown away with the first single — the title track — off Spreading The Disease made me kind of forget a little bit about W.A.L.K.E.R but a couple of months ago, I remembered that they had released their new EP so I purchased it at that time. Eventually, Spreading The Disease made its way onto my vehicle’s CD player and I can tell you that it’s still there. At first, I wasn’t totally enamoured with the songs finding them a bit simple but slowly and surely, I began to appreciate more and more the sheer brilliance of the tracks and all the little things that I love hearing in songs.
There are certain things that you simply can’t emulate such as a great guitarist’s guitar tone and sound or a singer’s unique vocals. W.A.L.K.E.R have those two things going for themselves. Guitarist Kelan Hughes is simply a phenomenal guitarist. His guitar tone is something that I could listen to all day long. His guitar solos are very memorable (check out the solos on “Bad Mojo Man”, “Spreading The Disease” and “Make It Work”) but yet don’t overshadow the songs themselves. I found myself playing air guitar to many of his guitar solos on Spreading The Disease and trust me when I say this doesn’t happen that often. To me, Hughes is one of the most talented young guitarists out there right now.
Kudos should also be given to Hughes for having written most of the songs and really all the best songs on Spreading The Disease. Walker has a co-writing credit for the title track and wrote the ballad “Beautiful Woman”, the latter being the weakest song on the EP. Anyone who has seen some of my past reviews will likely know that I am not that fond of ballads and it really takes a special one to blow me away. “Beautiful Woman” is a decent ballad which reminds me a little bit of what Steel Panther might have come up with minus the satire lyrics. In any case, Walker has a cool voice and can certainly hit those high notes whenever he wants. I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the higher pitched singers like Helloween‘s Michael Kiske and Walker‘s singing is music to my ears (OK, a bit cheesy but you should get what I mean). Whelan and Hughes are backed up by the solid rhythm section of bassist Peter Jordan and drummer Ali Cruz, although I understand that the latter was replaced earlier this year by Alex Sanchez.
As far as the songs themselves, you can hear some influences such as Extreme at the beginning of the funky “Make It Work” and I hear some Tales From The Porn at the start of the title track. The songs are well crafted and will have you singing along in no time such as with “Bad Mojo Man” and the repetitive but easy to remember chorus section on “Make It Work.” All of the faster paced tracks on Spreading The Disease are really enjoyable and I just don’t see how I can possibly not include this EP on Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2022, and that’s saying something with the high quality of albums that have come out so far in 2022. It’s not whether W.A.L.K.E.R‘s Spreading The Disease will make Sleaze Roxx‘s year end list but where on the list that it should end up.
01. Tokyo Romeo
02. Bad Mojo Man
03. Spreading The Disease
04. Beautiful Woman
05. Make It Work
06. When The Penny Drops
Glenn Walker – lead vocals, guitar, piano
Kelan Hughes – lead guitar, vocals
Ali Cruz – drums
Peter Jordan – bass
Produced by Michael Richards and W.A.L.K.E.R.
Mixed and mastered by Michael Richards
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, November 2022
W.A.L.K.E.R‘s “Spreading The Disease” video:
W.A.L.K.E.R‘s “Beautiful Woman” video: