PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Music

Katie Herzig: Walk Through Walls

Herzig's two-sided emotional and musical walls create an unceasing friction that is, at once, confrontational and cathartic.


Katie Herzig

Walk Through Walls

Label: Marion-Lorraine
US Release Date: 2014-04-08
Artist Website
Amazon
iTunes

Used to be, Katie Herzig was a brooding folk singer, rendering emotive ditties with little more than an acoustic guitar and the occasional cello. Now she's something of an electro-pop maven speaking with synthesizers and drum loops like they were her native language. And the evolution from then to now has really been spectacular to behold.

If you thought The Waking Sleep was a musical trip, you haven't heard nothing yet. The most recent step in her journey, Walk Through Walls, takes yet another giant stride forward. Here, Herzig puts her personal and professional maturation on display for all to see, perhaps finally arriving at the artistic destination hinted at in The Waking Sleep. Or not.

Love and loss, hope and fear -- these are the recurring idées fixes that occupy Herzig's work, and they are reflected in every moment of this effort, from the equable swagger of “Frequencies” to the placid strains of “Proud”. Like the perpetual struggle between darkness and light, the emotional and musical walls Herzig has constructed are comprised of two sides, creating an unceasing friction that is both confusing and cathartic. Only if you are walking through those dark, dense walls can you reach the still point in between and, eventually, come out on the other side into the light of understanding and resolve.

And that's exactly what is going on here.

Walk Through Walls is confrontational, to be sure. But it's also clarifying and entirely worth the effort. Song after song, Herzig collocates soaring synths upon meandering melodies to create a multitude of sweepingly evocative pieces. And these studies in contrast convey her message at a primal, cellular level. Starting with “Frequencies”, Herzig could have presented an insouciant, exoteric experience, but she went the other way and a lazy traipse became a surreal adventure. In the penultimate track, the liberating pulse and screams of “Forgiveness” could propel anyone out of a rut or, ahem, through a wall.

That's not to say there aren't some easy enough listens here. The title track and “Thick as Thieves” provide a bit of respite for the weary adventurer and both come pretty close in tone to Herzig's last effort, The Waking Sleep. Set the gentle, lilting chorus of “Thick as Thieves” (co-written with Butterfly Boucher) on loop while you catch your breath and adjust your eyes to the brightness breaking on the horizon. Because it's there. Double back to “Summer” and “Your Side” if you have any doubts.

When it's all sung and done, Walk Through Walls is a full-contact album, a boldly tactile exploit that demands (and deserves!) active engagement on the part of the listener. Be brave. Step up. And run -- don't walk -- to get there.

8

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Jefferson Starship Soar Again with 'Mother of the Sun'

Rock goddess Cathy Richardson speaks out about honoring the legacy of Paul Kantner, songwriting with Grace Slick for the Jefferson Starship's new album, and rocking the vote to dump Trump.

Books

Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (excerpt)

Ikette Claudia Lennear, rumored to be the inspiration for Mick Jagger's "Brown Sugar", often felt disconnect between her identity as an African American woman and her engagement with rock. Enjoy this excerpt of cultural anthropologist Maureen Mahon's Black Diamond Queens, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maureen Mahon
Music

Ane Brun's 'After the Great Storm' Features Some of Her Best Songs

The irresolution and unease that pervade Ane Brun's After the Great Storm perfectly mirror the anxiety and social isolation that have engulfed this post-pandemic era.

Music

'Long Hot Summers' Is a Lavish, Long-Overdue Boxed Set from the Style Council

Paul Weller's misunderstood, underappreciated '80s soul-pop outfit the Style Council are the subject of a multi-disc collection that's perfect for the uninitiated and a great nostalgia trip for those who heard it all the first time.

Music

ABBA's 'Super Trouper' at 40

ABBA's winning – if slightly uneven – seventh album Super Trouper is reissued on 45rpm vinyl for its birthday.

Music

The Mountain Goats Find New Sonic Inspiration on 'Getting Into Knives'

John Darnielle explores new sounds on his 19th studio album as the Mountain Goats—and creates his best record in years with Getting Into Knives.

Music

The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 60-41

PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electrosoul.

Books

Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.

Film

Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.

Music

Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".

Music

John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.

Music

The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.

Music

Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.

Music

The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.

Music

In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.

Music

Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.

Books

Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.

Music

'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.