One might ask why would a band name itself Just Walden? It wouldn’t be too farfetched to make a connection with Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Pond. Truth be told; the newest effort by Just Walden is not as transcendental as the experimental writing of Thoreau, nor is it a socio-political endeavor. It is; however, a dream come true for lead singer/songwriter Danny Ferraro who left the world of Goldman Sachs to reintroduce himself to the music scene. And lucky for him, his piano has given life to his music.
Beside Ferraro, the band also includes three other members: Taylor Eichenseer (percussion/guitar), Alex Margolin (percussion/synth), and Aaron Eichenseer (bass/guitar). And their debut album High Street Barton Blues speaks about living deliberately and finding the courage to follow lost dreams. However, Danny’s voice is somewhat inaudible making the message difficult to follow. While the album consists of fourteen songs, the tracks weave in-and-out of long and short lengths with the piano and emotive vocals of Ferraro taking center stage.
The album starts off with a very short instrumental piece “Marrow of Life” where the band shows-off their talent. The title of this track most likely was inspired by Thoreau’s line “I wanted to live deep and suck out the marrow of life….” Then it moves into a longer Pop/House track “Romie Knows” where the finesse of piano work becomes prominent. One could take a guess and interpret this track to be about a man staying in a place longer than intended. Perhaps the man is Ferraro whose job at Goldman Sachs in South London took five years of his life. Or perhaps the song is just about some dude hanging out at some club long enough for the trouble to start.
“Space Cadet” launches into outer space where the essence of life is living without regrets, musically constructed in the likes of Ben Folds. In fact, this album in general combines a new and old piano sound that is often missing in contemporary bands. But they do try-on a little experimental musicality here and there, especially with “Spare Keys” where the soundscape is meditative, where they abandon form, and perhaps touch the chord of the marrow of life.
One might criticize this album as being too beefed-up. That instead of fourteen tracks they could have done the same with less. But the album is cohesive and moves at the right cadence for them. And as a result, the effort might make them some stacks.