That hard-partying, rock-'n'-roll lifestyle pervades the lyrics on "The Rise and Fall": Walker tells boasting tales of wild parties and drunken brawls, and the inevitable morning after ("Too Famous to Get Fully Dressed"). The album title's nod to David Bowie is just the beginning of Walker's obvious 1970s influences. He channels Queen's theatrics on "Ladies & Gentlemen . . . 'The Let's-Go-Out Tonites' " and the glam rock of T.Rex on "Hot Girls in Good Moods."
"Rise and Fall" may be a tribute to the rock heroes of yesteryear, but Walker pulls it off with fervor and freshness on the danceable "Bethamphetamine (Pretty Pretty)" and the glitzy "The Taste of Red." Although the mid-album piano ballad "Dominoes" disrupts the driving energy of "Rise and Fall" and some of his song titles are a little too self-aware ("This Is the Sweetest Little Song"), this collection is surprisingly solid, considering Walker's heavy immersion in the production of pop starlets.
-- Catherine P. Lewis
.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 21 July 2006, Page WE06