Manuel Joseph Walker was a bit of a production prodigy as a teenager, with an obsession with jangle-pop and hip-hop. For the past 6 years he’s been a bit of a well-kept secret among the indie music scene, and his early drops saw him go from a DIY artist with a local following to a favourite for music bloggers, and his fans worldwide.
Now, following four albums, several tours, and millions of streams – he and his band Foliage are set to become big stars. They’ve headlined at venues such as The Echo, a favourite spot for residents of Echo Park, Los Angeles, as well as opened for acts such as Black Marble, Eyedress, and Seahaven. Such is Walker’s influence that the group saw over a million Spotify streams in 2019 alone – this is sure to only increase with ‘Better Man’, the band’s first release on Dowd Records.
‘Better Man’ starts out like a bull at the gate; fast and furious with a Bossa Nova vibe and blisteringly fast pop sentiments. The track only goes for a minute and 40 seconds but during that time it packs a helluva punch with Walker’s voice tremulous and yet directed squarely at the listener. Listen to it all the way through a few times and tell me you’re not caught every time by the final note.
‘Better Man’ is exciting and undeniably catchy, and Walker’s vocals are pitched somewhere between those of Robert Smith and Morrissey’s – yes – I’m getting an 80s vibe here – while at the same time being nobody’s but his own.
Listen to ‘Better Man’ below: