Published Nov 12, 2020For Brooklyn singer-songwriter, Felix Walworth, a.k.a. Told Slant, the gravity of devotion is a risk that has never weighed heavier. So heavy, in fact, they've stripped their sound down to express this weight in its purest form. Spoken through ambient plucks of guitar, harp, and the timorous quality of Walsworth's voice, their first record in four years, Point the Flashlight and Walk, sees Told Slant removing all barriers to embark upon the risky journey of devotion — the ups-and-downs of self-sacrifice for another.
"I want to see the world without me," Walworth sings on the penultimate track "From the Roofbeams," their newly intimate sound touched with vibrant hues of folk and emo. Revolving around the question of "How much can you lose and still be you," Walworth takes a fly-on-the-wall perspective of their own nervous attempts at giving themself up in the name of love.
But as the lovestruck multi-instrumentalist lets their guard down, anxiety emerges — sometimes in the form of sudden rushes of guitar strums, and sometimes through the hushed whispers of Walsworth's vocals. Singing "Gotta take a pill just to meet you in the city, if it's too heavy, will you carry it with me" on the opener "Meet You in the City," Told Slant expresses trepidation over meeting the one they adore. A hesitant act of vulnerability, yes, but one that becomes more raw and devout as the record evolves.
Elsewhere, Walworth's devotion goes unreciprocated, lamenting on "Run Around The School," "Caring for you, so I don't have to care for myself / Living is hard when you don't want me to." But as the Brooklyn artist continues to put themself last for the sake of someone else, they miraculously become clear as day. Their penchant for delicate guitar textures and storytelling are so emotionally striking, their forlorn heart ultimately shines through. Even when the singer's fragile voice is in danger of buckling under the immense weight of unrequited love, their guitar-plucking virtuosity and poetic intimacy hold steady.
Whether it's two empty things exchanging emptiness on the rhythmic "Flashlight On," or two hands caressing each other during the mournful "Fog on the Glass," Told Slant ensures no moment is without a private, tear-shedding turn of phrase or image.
Walsworth sings on "From the Roofbeams," with a beautifully unpolished tremble, "I'll stay with you...even when it's scary to." Listeners are encouraged to take that same risk and wear their hearts on their sleeves, taking the risk of devotion no matter how daunting it seems. (Double Double Whammy)