Houston-raised and Austin-based singer-songwriter Walker Lukens released his third album, titled ADULT this last Friday. Produced by Spoon’s Jim Eno, and ADULT marks a growth in Luken’s genre-bending skills and showcases his innate ability to write good music.
Story by Gabrielle Sanchez
This work is cohesive, while moving between many genres such as rock, R&B and soul. The bass lines are funky, and McKenzie Griffin's backup vocals shine on this album. Some of the highlights are the synth breakdowns and synth work in general in songs such as “Tear It Out My Heart,” which is the first track on ADULT and sets the listener up nicely for what’s to follow.
The lyrical content ties in with the title, with a lot of discussion around growing up and moving on. Lukens hits on serious issues, while maintaining some fun about it. The second track, “We See U,” takes a jab at Trump, with the main idea being that they do not see Trump for how he wants to be seen, but for who he is. It’s dark and punchy, but still is still something you could dance to.
Heartbreak and the dynamism of love permeates this album, which is exemplified in “I’ll Take the Dog,” and its chorus “Love doesn’t die // it just changes form.” Lukens get to show off his vocal range in this song and like other songs on the album, everything builds up a glorious crescendo. The penultimate track, “Didn’t Wanna Do Right,” is one of the best songs on the album, a hidden gem amongst the bops, that’ll have you steppin’ and living inside this funky space they built for us.
Luken’s vocal abilities are undeniable, they ebb and flow in this album in a way that ties everything together. Eno’s hand in this album can be heard, with some parts reminiscent of Spoon’s later work Hot Thoughts and They Want My Soul, especially on tracks like “Black Matter.”
“Baby” is a sweet ending to an album that grapples with a lot of heartbreak and hard truths. This romantic piece made me want to find someone to just run away with, and has lot of softness that is absent throughout the rest of the album. The lyrics are also in tension with the album title, encouraging whoever he’s singing to to quit their job and just go with him, while at the same time talking about having kids and “working for something.”
Overall, Luken’s gave us a strong experimental pop album that will be perfect for the hot summer that’s to come in Austin. It’s a grown-up work that exemplifies the best of what’s happening in the Austin music scene at the moment.
“I’ll Take the Dog”
“Heard You Bought a House”
“Didn’t Wanna Do Right”