Nick Wallaki: Across the Water

Score: 7/10 – Does the job for a jalan-jalan
Like an intravenous shot of sunshine direct to your system, Nick Wallaki’s infectiously chirpy tunes are a real tonic for a gloomy day.
Originally hailing from Perth, Wallaki has evidently put in the hours bouncing all around the Indonesian archipelago over the last five years. Inspired by the people and cultures he’s experienced along the way, the appropriately-titled Across the Water plays out as an homage to this sprawling country, with a super-positive message of unity and good times shining through from the very first honeyed guitar licks of “Blue Sky”. “Come on take a look around/this is a magic land” he sings soon after, full of wonder on “Ayo Indonesia” – a song which marks the first of a number of bilingual tracks sung in both English and Bahasa. All that time on the road has served him well, as Wallaki sings equally well in both languages, fully embracing the lifestyle and backed up by a talented group of local musicians who lend an unpretentious, genuine air to proceedings.
Cementing his reputation as an international artist who obviously has huge respect for his adopted land, Wallaki was invited to perform on Indonesian national TV, and has collaborated with such legendary Indonesian musicians as Iwan Fals, Doel Sumbang, Sule, Nunung and Andre.
The acoustic-guitar led tunes have a freewheelin’ surfy vibe to them, something that projects images of tropical beaches and rural village life – no doubt places where most of these songs were either written or first performed. For the most part, the uplifting folk – dubbed ‘Bahasa-beat’ by the artist, shimmies along brightly, however in some parts a few touches of Wallaki’s homeland begin to creep in to add an extra dimension to the journey. “Sun Man” opens and ends with a psych didge-out, while on the laid-back “This Time” the sing-along choruses give way to more western rap-style staccato verses. It all adds up to a nicely balanced mix that would be the ideal soundtrack for a beachy afternoon or sunshiny road trip.
Ayo Dan Ashcroft!
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