by Kristin Battestella
I already did a Robin solo review, so why do another? Frankly, I think this is a very interesting album, to say the least, and one that should be heard. Walls to me is more a Bee Gees album where Robin just happens to sing all the leads then just a Robin Gibb solo album. In 1985 the brothers were on good terms and all three collaborated on this the third 80s solo work from Robin.
Someone To Believe In begins the US released version in a very different style from either Secret Agent or How Old Are You. It’s darker, edgier, none of that bubblegum early 80s falsetto. This album is very ‘five o’clock shadow’ and I think it’s no coincidence Robin has on the cover!
Like A Fool is equally brooding. These songs are slower than the rest of Robin’s solo period, but they are not slow. His voice is strong and the production is tops mid eighties form. Gone With The Wind is an incredible song that should have been a single and a major hit. Written by Robin and Maurice, the vocals, arrangements, and lyrics are all tops. Deep down I suspect this song is why I am doing this review. It needs to be heard!
Toys is a bit of a mischievous song. Eight of the 10 songs presented are written by Robin, Maurice, and Barry, including this one. Barry even shares the lead on this song. Toys and the subsequent title track, These Walls Have Eyes are actually the two songs on this album I could live without. They each have their moments, but they seem poorly arranged and out of place. That being said, I’d take these songs, the rest of the album is that strong.
Do You Love Her is another one of those songs that sounds like three different people, but its all Robin. It’s quite catchy. Possession was a B side single off the album that also could have been a hit. Robin’s voice is on form and the lyrics are somewhat unique. ‘Possessing’ someone in a relationship is usually a negative thing, but not here. Perhaps superior to Possession is Heartbeat In Exile. The arrangement of the lyrics in this song are such a hook. The phrase ’Heartbeat in Exile’ is never uttered in the song. The word heartbeat is said very far away from the word exile, it is in fact, exiled. Very effective.
Walls Have Eyes is an intriguing blend of Robin’s personal style emphasized by guitar production and textbook Gibb lyrics and arrangement. Listening to this together with The Bee Gees 1987 release ESP, I am baffled by people who think The Bee Gees were passé in the 80s. Dorks.