The personnel:

Carla Torgerson – vocals, cello, acoustic & electric guitars

Chris Eckman – lyrics, vocals, electric & acoustic guitars

Glenn Slater – piano, organ, loops, accordion

Michael Wells – bass guitar, harmonica

Terri Moeller – drums, percussion, backup vocals

There are good bands. Some of them are really excellent. But there are also bands that can change your life, make it more beautiful, more colourful. The Walkabouts was the ABSOLUTE alternative band of 90s for me. ‘Setting The Woods On Fire‘ is the album that closes jubilantly the masterpiece trilogy including ‘Scavenger‘ & ‘New West Motel‘.

Chris Eckman & Carla Tongerson are one of the most handsome vocal & guitar duets of global music scene.

Carla Tongerson’s heartbreaking voice sets your soul in fire while Chris Eckman’s is so warm, also presenting a rock timbre. Their guitars draw shockingly awesome melodies, sometimes calm and lyrical, sometimes sharp. Their stuunning riffs and melodies are filled of unbelievable rock emotions.

Their songs are not just simple songs with typical lyrics; they are stories, they give you the feeling you have when you watch an adventure short film.

Good Luck Morning‘ starts the album with the heavy, hard guitars, and creeps into dramatic, mysterious ways. ‘Firetrap‘ is a classical “Walkabouts” song: pretty melodic with the hammond following the song and double vocals on refrain. ‘Bordertown‘ is the first great moment of the album. Desert atmospheric ballad with awesome vocals of Carla and night atmosphere that drives us emotionally to the first highlight: ‘Feeling No Pain‘; A warm, atmospheric synth-driven mid-tempo rock masterpiece. Divine vocals by Chris, for a magical song, perfect from the first till last second. ‘Old Crow‘ is a western-country moment that prepares us for the next highlight, ‘Almost Wisdom‘. This one runs frenetic upon epileptic guitar/western piano plateau. After 3’20 minute is the moment for headbanging after storming guitar solos. ‘Sand & Gravel‘ and ‘Up In The Graveyard‘ are slow core ballads and creep in the night for more than six minutes. ‘Nightdrive‘ is another gorgeous track; the song that awes you from the first moment. Carla Tongerson’s voice enchants you, singing in a heavenly way:

Check the main road one more time

Check the main road but I’m sure that you will find

It is late and closing down…There are lights out there but they do not seem close.”

Hole In The Mountain‘ is a country celebration with feature piano that follows the entire song and double vocals, while ‘Pass Me On Over‘ is an adventurous, excellent song in the same style as ‘Drag This River‘ from ‘Scavenger‘. ‘Promised‘ wraps up this magical album with beautiful melodic harmonies between Chris & Carla, an ideal way to end ‘Setting The Woods On Fire‘.

Setting The Woods On Fire‘ is intended to be loved like their mythical predecessors, the less widespread ‘Scavenger‘ and their famous tour de force ‘New West Motel‘.

Personally speaking, ‘Setting The Woods On Fire‘ is my favourite album of The Walkabouts. I don’t know why. It’s not that “perfect” (like ‘New West Motel‘ for example), but it keeps something seductive, full of fervor, that sounds like the Siren’s call to my ears, a fact that explains the reason that this album is the MASTERPIECE that I listened to while traveling at night more times than any other – OF ANY OTHER – band. I take off my hat and bow.

Theodoros Rentesis