Album Review: The Adventures of Walter Ergo by the Quasi-Stellar Radio Show

This album is absolutely for any prog rock lover or David Bowie fan.


By Ethan James Young

If you’ve ever felt lost on this little blue dot we call earth, you may relate to The Adventures of Walter Ergo, a rock opera about a man who decided to try to steal a spaceship to escape from this treacherous world.


To clarify, this review will focus on how the album stands on its own. I would suggest seeing a live theatrical performance (if possible) of The Adventures of Walter Ergo to get more context of the story. (For more about the composer, Al Deans, check out our recent interview). In this article, I’ll leave my comments about Al Deans to this: he has the support from pretty established local musicians and recently performed The Adventures of Walter Ergo alongside the popular local rock opera Deep Love as part of a double feature.

If you do only listen to the album without seeing the show, you won’t be completely missing out (like most good broadway musicals). There are a few things you will get out of the album that you don’t get in the live show, such as the sound effects and foley creating the environment of the story. The album is also more intentionally, clearly mixed rather than an on-the-fly live mix.

Illustration for The Adventures of Walter Ergo.

However, saying that the mix is “better than live sound” seriously undercuts the quality of Al Deans’ sound design and audio engineering abilities. The mix breathes and flows subtly. Sometimes the vocals may be dry and up front for part of the song and then shift back into the mix to let an important guitar lick stick out before having the vocal come back in with a different sound quality. The entirety of The Adventures of Walter Ergo has a very creative and dynamic sound. 

The mix is not the only place the album has variety. While keeping the genre within the boundaries of rock, each song takes a different approach–from the generic rock style, to the acoustic, to the more synthetic. Al Deans allows a little bit of everything to influence him in this experimental opera.

Al Deans performing at Velour Live Music Gallery.

While there are a lot of sonic benefits of listening to the album as opposed to going to the show, you may still miss aspects of the story. This is fine though because, even with an understanding of pieces of the story, there is still much to uncover in this deeply metaphorical memoir. Regardless, we still get the almost spiritual themes and emotions felt by Walter Ergo throughout. What I could decipher from the lyrics is that this is a story about how Walter Ergo is fighting a personal battle and how he finds his way out of it.

While it might be difficult to pick one song that best expresses the album as a whole, “Living Lovely Lies” seems to give us a hint of what kind of inner turmoil Walter Ergo faces. With so much uncertainty in life, the song illustrates through the quiet falsetto vocals and heavy bass how small one can feel – which I think is a feeling many can relate to.

This album is not for everyone. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this album to broadway fanatics because, unlike a broadway musical, not everything in the narrative is explicitly clear. Regardless, as a musical lover, I can still appreciate repeating lyrics from other lines to show signs of progress. I can also appreciate how, in true opera fashion, everything blurs together, making one seamless big song. However, this album is absolutely for any prog rock lover or David Bowie fan. 

Make sure to follow The Adventures of Walter Ergo on Instagram. You can listen to “Living Lovely Lies” below.


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