Few artists pack an emotional punch like Told Slant. Felix Walworth’s voice doesn’t hide anything. From its most cathartic moments on tracks like “Ohio Snow Falls” to its more intimate moments on songs like “Tsunami”, listeners feel each word exactly as Walworth delivers them. Last week, Walworth released their third record as Told Slant, Point the Flashlight and Walk.
Point the Flashlight and Walk shows us a more matured sound from Walworth, adding more instruments to their sound, as well as a more refined production than their earlier records. “Meet You in the City” almost feels too upbeat for a Told Slant song, but it’s a great opener for the record, with its chiming keyboards and a light layer of percussion. “Bullfrog Choirs” builds quite nicely from the opening track with a wonderful sing-along section and intricate drum work that makes Walworth one of the most notable drummers in New York. The ending is amazing and unlike anything we’ve heard from Told Slant: huge guitar and building synth-bass before the track fades away.
The album gets its name from a line in “Flashlight On”. The track builds from a base of finger-picked guitar and Walworth’s voice layered with distortion, which adds a nostalgic quality. The song builds until Walworth’s voice picks up steam, singing:
“I’ve spent so much of my life with no passion at all
Just want to get lost, point the flashlight and walk”.
Lines like that define Walworth’s songwriting. Honest, often times brutally so. These are emotions that many listeners relate to – anyone who’s been in love, fallen out of love, or felt stuck. A song like “Run Around The School” encapsulates that so well. It’s a simple and at times innocent concept about being in love in school, but Walworth adds the real layer of how even unrequited love can be something to celebrate.
The next two tracks, “Whirlpool” and “Family Still”, seem to create a buffer between two fairly distinct halves of Point the Flashlight and Walk. They’re two, slower-paced, intimate songs with some really interesting instrumentation. They also include really incredible moments, like when “Family Still” breaks and Walworth sings “I put my hand on your chest / I hope it beats when I leave you”.
“No Backpack” comes in with this driving drumbeat and hammering piano. It also has some of the record’s best guitar parts, creating an incredible atmosphere throughout. “Moon and Sea” follows it up with an electric piano under a great folk approach. It’s one of the most moving tracks on the record, particularly when Walworth sings, “Don’t stop this breathing – ah ah ah ah” and it fades into a great keyboard solo.
Some argue that the penultimate track on an album is its most important, and “From the Roofbeams” is Point the Flashlight and Walk’s centerpiece. It sums up both the album and almost everything Told Slant has released so far: heart-wrenching, moments of catharsis, and quiet intimacy. Walworth sings, “Take all these cannon drum, heaven trumpet feelings that I have for you”, which, while maybe not intentional, evokes imagery from the last track on the previous Told Slant record.
The record comes to a close with the stunning “Walking With the Moon”. Despite being only a few words, it wraps up all of the album’s emotion with one more question, “Shouldn’t I love you?”.
In a blog post, Walworth says they dug into Springsteen’s Nebraska while working on this record. There are a lot of parallels between the boss and Walworth. These are human stories, they’re relatable. They’re about love, about loss, about friendship, and the weird, and sometimes comforting emotional places in between. Point the Flashlight and Walk is a powerful albeit understated record. It, however, takes listeners far beyond what any prior Told Slant record in the past. Immersive guitar parts, chilling harp melodies, keyboards and more new sounds take Walworth’s music to incredible heights. It’s a growth and evolution that suits them well, making Point the Flashlight and Walk their best album yet.
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