Brian Walker has been feeling pretty positive lately. The Philly musician has made reflective music under the A Day Without Love banner for as long as we’ve been covering the scene here at The Key, and the project had several incarnations over the years. There was the acoustic, sensitive and Dashboard Confessional-esque early songs and shows meditating on heartbreak and sorrow. Then there was the anthemic power pop band circa 2013-14, showcased on the impressive Young Professionals EP, a collection with a sirplus of seize-the-day energy. 

Other ADWOL incarnations have been solo electric and trippy (a SXSW gig in 2015) and a brash power duo (a late 2015 tour), and Walker’s latest combines all those themes and approaches. This year’s Solace is a journey centered strongly around issues of depression, regret around past missteps and personal failings, and an eye toward self-care and self-improvement. As Walker said in the album notes, it’s the first collection of songs he wrote completely sober, it’s an exorcising of demons, and it’s also wrapped in hope, with recorded messages of love from his late grandfather interspersed in the set.

For this week’s Key Studio Session, Walker brought in the full five-piece configuration of A Day Without Love, decked out in holiday sweaters and expansive sounds. Jake Detwiler (also of The Morelings) joins on lead guitar, Aaron Weiss plays piano, John Mcguire rocks the bass and Andrew Ryan sits in on drums. The band rocks four songs from the opening punk rager “Joseph” to the reflective anthem “Green” and a medley of the sparking Jimmy Eat World style emo of “Too Fast” into the simmering Bad Brains dub-tinged “Never Judge.”

Watch videos of the set below by ubiquitous videographer Bob Sweeney, and check out a photo gallery above by artist / activist / poet Amanda Silberling (friends of ADWOL both). Walker has a pair of ADWOL shows at W/N W/N Coffee in early 2016 — more information can be found on his website.