What do you think about when you go for a walk? For me, a walk is how I make sense of things, the time when I reflect and sort through my life. Meadows captures this feeling of quiet reflection on its album walking music.
Isiah Schellenberg has long been a presence in the Winnipeg indie scene, fronting the bands Notme and Brite. His songwriting and voice are instantly recognizable — hypnotizing, emotional and simple, taking cues from lo-fi heroes like Elliott Smith and Alex G.
The 11 tracks present on walking music are ambient, lo-fi folk taken to its most intimate, with barely strummed guitars, cozy synth pads and near-whispered vocals. It is a cozy sound, perfect for a long Winnipeg winter and a long walk in the snow
Opening track “525” envelops the listener in blankets of guitar and spoken word samples while Schellenberg’s catatonic voice drifts in and out, murmuring a simple melody.
Following up is “viper,” a depressive meditation on familial strife and inherited sadness, with a defeated refrain of “the guilt runs through my blood.”
Third track “Gemini” is a gorgeous little pop song, with a chorus that sees Schellenberg exploring his underutilized falsetto range, lifted by chiming guitars and a cozy pad of synth.
Rounding out the album’s excellent opening sequence is “late spring,” which marks the point where momentum on the album slows slightly.
After the short interlude “leaving,” we get “fumble,” a pretty but kind of slight song, reminiscent of Canadian private press great Lewis Baloue and a re-recorded, slightly expanded version of “honey tea” from meadows’ previous album, wild flower.
The instrumental title track is quite lovely though, and the added texture from the layers of field recordings makes it an atmospheric and engrossing listen.
Ninth track “flowers 2” is a winding, rambling song with a bit of a ’60s psychedelic vibe, bringing a little burst of energy to the record. Meanwhile, proceeding song “try” is a bit flat and depressing, lacking dynamics.
But closing track “wither” is a great one. The song and arrangement are barebones — vocals and one guitar track, no chorus, no bridge, just verses and a repeated guitar riff — but it is gorgeous. Schellenberg sings in this low, raspy range with so much texture and depth, and the melody has a perfect melancholy.
Meadows has delivered yet another great collection of songs only meadows could write. Any fan of indie and lo-fi should seriously consider walking music to soundtrack their next stroll.
Walking Music is available on major streaming services.