As a superfan of Paramore, a Parawhore if you like, I was absolutely gutted when Josh and Zac Farro decided to leave the band back in 2010. After a long time of mourning, listening to All We Know Is Falling and watching YouTube videos of the band hanging out on their tour bus, I began to scour the web in the hopes that Josh and Zac would be developing their own musical projects. I instantly came across Novel American, the brothers’ first attempt at music beyond Paramore. It didn’t last. Soon enough Zac Farro formed HalfNoise, releasing an EP in 2012 and then an album titled Volcano Crowe in 2014. HalfNoise can only be described as ghostly indie-rock-pop. A unique, yet utterly gorgeous sound. Still, there was no sign of Josh Farro.
Months went by until one day an announcement came. Josh Farro was back in the business and had a lead single for his upcoming album. The music video for Color Rush hit the web but was later switched for Cliffs which then became the lead single. While Color Rush still appears on the album, Farro was right to make the switch. Color Rush is a cute indie song about a girl, whereas Cliffs in an upbeat anthem about throwing yourself into life or, as he puts it, to “jump in the water”.
In the run up to release day, Farro dropped a few more tracks from the LP, notably On A Wire, which remains my favourite song. Josh Farro told Teen Vogue:
I was wanting to write a song about two people in a relationship and from one person’s perspective in that relationship where they have the other person walking on eggshells and it starts with the couple laying in bed and they just had an argument and they’re like, kind of giving each other the silent treatment and not talking and I feel like we’ve all been there and you get frustrated. […] It’s kind of how we can be tough on the ones we love without really realizing it.
Tiger’s Eyes opens with some beats that Beiber would be proud of – gentle and catchy, just like What Do You Mean? Islands is equally as chilled. The laid-back tone allows listeners to fully appreciate Farro’s new creation, without it being thrown in their face. Plus, the Paramore co-writer’s new lyrics are wonderfully poetic:
Drifting at sea
Without even trying.
Why did we say,
We were an island?
I love how Farro has a strong balance of gentle songs with heavier tracks. Say The Word and Home are bound to bring Paramore fans back to the beauty of Misguided Ghosts. Josh Farro’s whispered vocals are saturated with emotion, accompanied by perfectly fitting string instruments. These songs are placed alongside Farro’s bolder tracks, including Lose You and title track Walkways. The electric guitars have enough charm to pass as the Arctic Monkeys while Farro’s strong, confident vocals make his sound a bit more Coldplay. It appears Josh Farro was destined for far more than a position as lead guitarist.
Walkways has shown me that Josh Farro was not responsible for Paramore’s “heavy” sound – all past and present Paramore members have diverted into some form of pop. While a small part of me still longs for the good old days, for the most part I feel lucky to now have three excellent bands on my iPod instead of one.