Self described as “Brand New in a Katy Perry sugar coated shell”, London based singer/songwriter Arthur Walwin is growing from his roots in the DIY pop-rock scene and jumping headfirst into the world of straight-up pop and EDM with his debut album, Sleepless, set for release on Monday 27th July. Last year saw the 24 year old play Wembley among headline tours both here and in America, and in previous years he’s received airplay and praise from the likes of Nick Grimshaw and Fearne Cotton with his debut single All For You.
Self produced, writing and recording the eleven track release took priority over everything for Arthur, allegedly comprising eating and sleeping for its sake, and is the accumulation of two years’ work. Latest single White Wine opens the record, a track that’s clearly made to be a hit with a fantastically catchy chorus and synth hooks that demands being hummed along to (despite soundly somewhat similar to Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding’s Outside – maybe that’s why it’s so addictive).
The pace of the album is kept up with another electronics infused number, Seeing Her, though the same chorus-and-synth-opening trick is pulled here as it was in White Wine, and a similar trick is used in previous single Bad which follows the pair. Vocal lead Hard To Love provides more variation, touching on the more emotive side of Arthur’s work, as well as showing off his range and featuring alternative hip-hop artist Refraze.
An atmospheric build up and punchy drums preceding the explosive chorus makes Again & Again one of my personal favouites off the record, emancipating lyrics leading into dancey instrumentals and soaring vocal work, with a controlled come down before the whole process repeats. Lead single and most directly pop off the album, This Feels Like Summer is an optimistic, drink-parties-sunshine anthem for those rare British days of summer. Having been out for a year, one might think that this was a track that could become easily overplayed; let me assure you that isn’t the case.
Although there’s no abandonment of the electronics, the album sees a slight change in direction here, leaning toward the slower and more personal numbers. Affectionate Sweet takes the place as a token almost-acoustic track, though still builds up to a powerful, piano-backed chorus, and stands as another favourite for the fond tone and singalong potential. More acoustic again, romantic and humbling Chance shows off Arthur’s ability to pen moving lines disguised as upbeat hooks, whilst Void plays the same card, distracting from, “coming here was a big mistake”, with his huge range.
Bring to mind A Rocket To The Moon’s Like We Used, form it into a pop song, and you’ve got yourself penultimate I Miss You – compare “Does he watch your favourite movies? / Will he love you like I loved you? / Will he tell you everyday?” with “Does he do the things I did? / Will he say the things I said? / Will he ever understand our love?”. Closing LoCal, a tribute to his love for California whilst he lives in London, winds the album down perfectly with his signature mix of longing and positivity glowing through the track’s melancholy moments.
Sleepless has been crafted as eleven consecutive hits, and Arthur’s talent is deservedly flaunted through them. Old fans will be sure to find enough of his DIY sensibilities in the tracks to love the album, and new fans are bound to be roped in by the huge hooks and sincere undertones.
You can watch the video for White Wine below.