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It is a big call for a man who has sold over 40 million albums. However Brian McFadden has never been more excited than he is to share his new album Wall of Soundz with the world.
“I know people always say the same thing on every album `This is the best album I’ve ever done’ but for me this is definitely the best album I’ve ever done,” McFadden says. “This is the most excited I’ve ever been about an album. I haven’t been this excited since the first Westlife album. It feels like a fresh start musically. It doesn’t feel like just another Brian McFadden album and I love that.”
Wall of Soundz is indeed worlds away from Westlife or any preconceptions you may have about Brian McFadden. And that is the point.
The album began life as a side-project cooked up with McFadden met American songwriter/producer Rob Conley, the secret weapon behind hits for Darren Hayes and Axle Whitehead.
Conley’s specialty is synthesized soundscapes, dance beats and electro pop. Soon McFadden was leaving his acoustic guitar at home as they met in the middle of their respective talents to create their new direction.
“I’d never considered working like that before,” McFadden says. “In the old days it was always sit down with a guitar, work out the chord, sing some melodies. On Wall of Soundz only one song, Mr Alien, started from being written on acoustic guitar, the rest we’d sit down with synths and work out beats or loops and build the song up from there.”
For a man best known for tender ballads and acoustic-driven love songs it was a musical revelation.
After tip-toeing into the electronic genre with the hit Twisted, Wall of Soundz sees Brian McFadden pushing new personal and musical boundaries.
“Rob and I learned a lot from each other. He was very electro and everything he did was quite cool, but he didn’t have mainstream pop melodies. My stuff was really mainstream and I didn’t have any cool electro vibe. So we mashed it together and it just worked for both of us, we filled in the gaps each other was missing.”
While he’s dabbled in production in the past, it’s also the first time McFadden has shared a producer’s credit.
“Even though it sounds nothing like what I’ve done before, this time it actually feels like this is me, this is what I do,” McFadden says. “I’ve finally found my sound and my niche. It just feels right this time. The album sounds exactly how I wanted it to. I feel like there’s no boundaries, there’s no limits to what I can do with this sound.”
McFadden has a few friends along for the ride. First single Just Say So features US star Kevin Rudolf – the song was the most added to Australian radio the week it was released. Not Now is a collaboration with up and coming Australian band Amy Meredith – another act Conley is producing. Amy Meredith frontman Christian Lo Russo shares vocals with McFadden – his first male duet since Bryan Adams, while Amy Meredith’s Joel Christian also co-wrote the track.
“There was really good chemistry in the studio,” McFadden says of recording Not Now with Amy Meredith. Rob and I were doing Wall of Soundz, they were doing the first Amy Meredith album so there was a real buzz in the air. They’re so fresh that everything that came out of them felt new.”
Mistakes features vocals from McFadden’s fiancé Delta Goodrem; a song that almost didn’t make the record.
“I wrote Mistakes after the album was finished but it turned out so well Rob and I made it fit with the rest of the record. When Delta heard it she wanted to sing on it.” Anyone expecting a lovers duet will be disappointed; like their No.1 hit Almost Here it’s another tale of a relationship disintegrating - ``my first mistake was loving you, my worst mistake was giving you a second chance….my last mistake is thinking I won’t make the same mistake again.” “It’d be too cheesy if we were singing lovey dovey duets,” McFadden says. “It’s fun to put ourselves in a different headspace and act out those lyrics that don’t relate to us.”
From the insanely-catchy and autotune heavy Chemical Rush (“I’ve done enough live shows that people know I can sing, it’s just an effect make the vocal a sound not a voice”) to the haunting Mr Alien, the album also features its own ``mini-symphony” with When You Coming Home.
“It started with just piano and became almost Led Zeppelin-ly with big trashy guitar and drums,” McFadden says. “We got it pretty close to being our little masterpiece. I can’t imagine it on radio but it’s a perfect example of what Wall of Soundz is.”
And that is the sound of Brian McFadden for 2010 – rebooted, re-energised and reinvented. He’s also ready to take on the world. “Of all my records this is definitely the one that is the most international. The ultimate goal is to get this album released in every country in the world.”