Listen: Virginia’s Walkabout Puts a Sci-Fi Twist to Pop Punk Music on “Coyote Beach Club”
Walkabout describes their off-kilter garage sound as “butt rock,” but don’t try to pigeonhole the Fairfax-based quartet.
“We’ll also accept weiner rock,” said Drew Hyde, vocalist and guitarist for the group fresh off the release of their new record, Coyote Beach Club.
Coyote is a punk-approved affair in terms of the runtime, clocking in at just 25 minutes. When it comes to construction, though, the album is loose-ended and jam-inspired. “One of us came up with a loose idea for a song, then we hashed it all out at band practice,” said Hyde of the simple recording process. “We just developed them as a group at band practices.”
The title track is pretty representative of the surrounding material; It’s a classic Midwest-tinged college radio rock jam, summery and prone to the occasional instrumental breakdown. Coyote isn’t a concept album, and it’s structured more like a flipbook than a novel. “Lyrically, I wanted the album as a whole to evoke these kind of movie scenes,” said Hyde. “There’s references to UFOs too, so it has a mysterious quality to it where songs start out influenced by real life experiences and morph into this weird sci-fi story.”
Jesse Harman, Walkabout’s drummer, added, “I think one of us at practice just said we liked the idea of aliens invading a beach town.”
The boardwalk-meets-space mood board development of Coyote feels right. The songs are light, bouncy, and beachy above all else. But there’s a throughline of melancholy that elevates Coyote above the sea of backyard college rock. “Intergalactic Kegger” and album closer “Okie Dokie Calculator” stand out as particularly dichotomous between their house show sonics and their paranoid lyrics.
Lines like “Keep an open mind / Don’t fall asleep at night,” in the former song and “I drove into town to get into away from the thought / That I’m being watched” in the latter paint the proceedings in an alien green light, and the texture is much appreciated. Along with album opener “A Big American,” “Okie Dokie Calculator” serves as a bookend to Coyote’s core theme, said Harman.
“It rounds out this idea that something’s not quite right, but it’s probably gonna be okay.”