I can't say I know terribly much about the Walker Brothers, but a quick scan of their discography suggests there may not be all that much to know. An American vocal trio who enjoyed a string of British hits from 1965-67 and a brief comeback a decade later, they would seem the sort of act amply served by compilations. AFTER THE LIGHTS GO OUT must surely rank as a good one, at least as far as the Walkers' early work is concerned.
Merging - at times even overlapping - Motown and Phil Spector sensibilities with grand theatrical frills and heartrending delivery, the Walker Brothers crafted some of the sixties' most dramatic ballads, the best of which have lost nothing after forty years. Scott Engels/Walker's full, clear low tenor, a compellingly effective instrument even when interpreting outright schmaltz, generally takes the lead (with good reason), though the other "Walkers," John and Gary, provide more than worthy support and (in John's case) occasional solos. To be sure, not everything works: there's some truly over-the-top stuff here, with soap opera lyrics, swirling horror-movie organs, hair-curling violins and an ambience worthy of Broadway at its brightest. But when these guys are good, they're unbeatable. The Drifters-influenced title track, "Love Her," "Make It Easy on Yourself," "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" and "Don't Say Goodbye" are all masterpieces, big and brash with just enough weeping melodrama to stick them permanently into the listener's memory after one or two plays. A number of other winners are in here too, as well as a few fairly laughable tracks; all fit, nevertheless. This is superlative mid-sixties pop, and I doubt that anyone, of whatever age, couldn't find something to love on this disc.