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Walking Papers lose half a band on The Light Below with no loss of quality

The Light Below is the compelling third album from Walking Papers, the unconventional Seattle blues swingers



Ex-Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin and a bassist named Duff McKagan had too many day-jobs to continue – both appeared on Walking Papers’ self-titled debut in 2013 and on 2019’s follow-up WP2 – but there’s no loss of quality on album number three. That’s testament to the talent of singer, guitarist and songwriter Jeff Angell and keyboard player Benjamin Anderson. Credit, also, to the new rhythm section of Will Andrews and Dan Spalding.

As before, Walking Papers play low-key blues rock that swings with leonine grace, and when Angell sings, “I’ve got venom and imagination and I won’t let anyone stand in my way” it stands as a fitting manifesto. His guitar is fluid when soloing, and supportive when Anderson’s keyboards seep through to conjure an enticing mixture of menace and sadness. 

Highlights include What Did You Expect, the eight-minute Divine Intervention, Stood Up At The Gates Of Heaven, Going Nowhere (with a beautiful saxophone solo from Gregor Lothian) and Creation Reproduction And Death, which delivers a hint of Black Star-era David Bowie. Money Isn’t Everything begins in quasi drum’n’bass mode but ends up somewhere else and gives away to the sassy funk of Rich Man’s World

This album shines throughout.