The Walls Group “Fast Forward” Album Review

The Walls Group

Prime Cuts:  God on My Mind (with Brandy), Love on the Radio, Imperfect People

Many have YouTube to thank.  Acting as a conduit between aspiring artists and notable honchos of the music industry, this Internet video sharing site has launched the careers of numerous artists (Justin Bieber being the prime example).  In 2010, the Walls Group, a gospel troupe consisting of two brothers and two sisters, began innocuously posting videos on YouTube.  Not only had their videos gone viral, but they were picked by up legendary Gospel guru Kirk Franklin.  Impressed by their quartet family layered harmonies and their youthful energetic presence, it didn't take Franklin long to sign them up as his fledging artists for his Fo Yo Soul Entertainment. An esteemed imprint distributed by RCA Inspirational Records.  The "I Smile" artist's fingerprints are all over "Fast Forward:" not only did Franklin helm the entire project, but he also has had a hand of co-writing or writing a whooping 10 0ut of the 13 cuts here. 

The triumphant of "Fast Forward" lies in its flavored diversity and its energetic maturity. Joining the elite tradition of Jackson Five and the Clark Sisters, the Walls Group has much to add to the urban sounds created by gifted kinsfolk that all bear the same last name.  Darrel (22 years-old), Rhea (17), Paco (16) and Ahjah Walls (15) are the singing four out of the eight children of Roger and Alicia Walls. Preceded by their parents who were also stellar musicians, rhythms and melodies seeped in the souls of these four siblings.  Instead of riding on the coattails of EDM inspired hip hop for their latest musical endeavor, here you will find the foursome incorporating funky old styled Gospel, smooth hip hop beats, seismic blasts of rock guitars, and the best of melodious pop music into their urban based R&B palette.  Thus, what you have here is a richly textured collection of songs that is bound to tickle the earworm of a wide array of listeners with their variegated sonic preferences.

Bursting out with a full flurry of energy with the distorted sounds of a retarded record and the crisp sounding rhythms of its electric percussion, "Love on the Radio" is the type of songs that has "hit" stamped across it.  Despite their youthful sound, the Walls Group have by no means compromised their Godly stance.  In our culture where young people have allowed their identity to be dictated by their possession of the latest iphone, Lexus or branded bag, "Satisfied" sticks out like a sore thumb.  It is so counter cultural; yet it is so Biblical and Godly.  Resisting the temptation to be defined by material gadgets, "Satisfied" is a harmony-layered prayer for Jesus to be our "pearl of great price." Though a little tedious at various patches of the song, "Great is Your Love" is a smooth 90s styled R&B worship ballad that will get our feet tapping and our voices humming along.

R&B songstress Brandy who has left her mark with hits in the 90s (such as "Have You Ever?" and "Sittin' Up in My Room") joins the siblings for an honorable treat with "God on My Mind."  Penning new verses to it and re-tweaking Brandy's song "Always on My Mind" from her 1994 debut album, "God On My Mind" goes deep in wrestling with the issue of theodicy, i.e., the why God allows human beings to suffer.  Continuing on to feed us with more spiritual steak is "Perfect People."  Calling to mind Matthew 5:3, "Perfect People" is a song that addresses people who are spiritually poor and desperately in need of Christ.   When the quartet sings "But this is for anyone, no matter how you pray/The pain won't let you get through," these words just have a way of reaching right into our hearts.  It's rare that a record can speak be cerebral as well as deeply soul searching, in this regard, the Walls Group "Fast Forward" leads the parade.



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