Walter Alias

Walter Alias: Great expectations.

A band that calls its album Examples of the Cataclysmic is obviously thinking big. Walter Alias, a Kansas City transplant from Branson, Missouri, describes its sweeping sound as "cinematic," and it's not hard to imagine the quartet's swelling choruses set against some critical moment in a movie about the apocalypse, or at least an episode of Jericho. This is serious pop-rock, meant to be heard by the masses. Yet, at a time when the masses favor bloated production (thanks, My Chemical Romance and the Killers), Walter Alias chooses ambiance over gimmick, which means weaker songs such as "Goodmorning" merely drag rather than succumb to pomp. Lofty song titles such as "Speechless With Continuum" suggest that singer Ryan Wallace is exploring deep themes. Whether the lyrics are personal or political is hard to say, but, more important, Wallace sounds good singing them, especially when he evokes Jeff Buckley on closing track "Where Are You Going?"

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