[11 August 2014]
There’s a reason for the five-year layoff between albums for Chicago’s Walking Bicycles. Since their last album, 2009’s Go?, guitarist Julius Moriarty was incarcerated in prison for three years for what the publicist notes was a non-violent offense. You might be tempted to write this band off knowing that an ex-con is a member of this group, but I believe in second chances and so long as Moriarty didn’t kill someone or harm a child, I would say that everyone makes mistakes and deserves a shot at redemption. Well, To Him That Wills the Way offers a sort of musical redemption for the group, buoyed by vocalist Jocelyn Summers, who can both seductively coo and wail like a banshee with the best of them. This is an album that rewards repeated listens, with its gloomy goth rock meets alternative rock style sticking in your cranium the more you spend time with it.
That’s not to say that the album doesn’t have its problem areas. Opening track “Impending Doom” starts things off with a sludgy, stoner Black Sabbath sound, but then suddenly turns on a dime with the second track “So” to take a more Jane’s Addiction approach that more or less continues for the rest of the record. And the record ends with “Badada”, which stops things dead on a dime and makes the listener wonder what’s next. However, To Him That Wills the Way is still an appealing listen, made all the more potent with the band’s troubled backstory. Single “Eyesore” is particularly threatening and gloomy, and races along at an unrelenting clip. Basically, if you like your music dark and scary, To Him That Wills the Way is definitely the album for you.