#Review: Wallows – Nothing Happens

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Muzik Speaks Loves Atlantic Records - SmallerWallows are a 3-piece, indie rock band from Los Angeles, consisting of actors Dylan Minnette (13 Reasons Why) and Braeden Lemasters (Men of a Certain Age) plus drummer, Cole Preston. The trio first formed under their current moniker back in 2017, self-releasing their debut single, before signing to Atlantic Records in early 2018. Now, 2019 sees the release of the band’s debut album, Nothing Happens. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Wallows have successfully crafted a blend of 80s new wave, alternative rock and indie, right from the very first notes of the intense opening track, ‘Only Friend’, that instantly engage the listener and force you to turn it up, before blending seamlessly into second track, ‘Treacherous Doctor’; by far the best track on the record – it’s catchy as hell and ballsy with its heavy interludes, making it really stand out.

Catchy melodies are not lacking on this record either! Lead single, ‘Are You Bored Yet?’ (featuring Clairo) demonstrates perfectly, the sort of thing to expect from the album, and is a great marriage of male and female vocals. Whilst second single, ‘Scrawny’, would sit well on a soundtrack, switching up the tone, part way through the song. Then there’s ‘What You Like’ with its electronic, 80s vibes – a strong verse vocal and intense reverb, like something by Sparks, and ‘Remember When’ offers a hook that will stay with you for days. ‘Ice Cold Pool’ offers a musically uplifting tempo and shimmering guitar lines.

There’s no doubt that this is a summer soundtrack and would fit well in a teen programme, like The OC, conjuring up images of a road trip in a convertible, with friends, shot with a vintage camera. It’s the sort of record that you could either sit back and relax to, or get lost in at a summer BBQ – it’s dynamic and delightfully enthralling.

This is quite possibly one of the most interesting and exciting, American indie bands I’ve heard for some time.

Generally, this is a fairly fast-paced album but ‘Sidelines’ offers a more downtempo reprieve and a synth line that reminds me of Caesars’ ‘Jerk It Out’ (just not as upbeat), as does the album closer, ‘Do Not Wait’ – a haunting, dream-like instrumentation in the first half, that builds to a more frantic, psychedelic close, with it’s spoken-word vocal.

The whole album is written solely by the band themselves and produced by John Congleton (Lana Del Rey, Franz Ferdinand & Jamie T) – this might explain why the record sets them up as the kings of interesting breakdowns and unusual soundscapes that weave their way throughout the record. They take unexpected, sonically captivating twists and turns throughout and Dylan’s vocals are, at times, monotonous and somewhat apathetic, but it works so delightfully well! It’s definitely an album for all ages – millennials are bound to love it, as will original fans of 80s synth rock.

I’m sure some people will turn their noses up at Wallows for the fact that they’re established actors, but that shouldn’t detract from what a great record, and band, this is! Nothing Happens is a very strong, well-written and well-produced album that although very indie on the surface, at its core, takes a lot of influence from a fair few 70s and 80s tracks. Having listened to this captivating record several times now, I am left excited for what more they have to offer, and if their next album is as strong as this, they will continue to pave a great career for themselves. This is quite possibly one of the most interesting and exciting, American indie bands I’ve heard for some time.

Rating
4


‘Nothing Happens’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/nothing-happens/1450670646


Nothing Happens on Spotify

Scrawny (Official Music Video)

Are You Bored Yet? (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s debut album? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: IDLES @ Brighton Dome, Brighton – 29/03/19

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On Friday 29th March 2019, IDLES arrived in Brighton to play an excellent show, following their Brit Award nomination and in support of their second album, Joy As An Act Of Resistance. The band were supported by Crows. Here’s what we thought of the show…


Crows

There’s something instantly hypnotic about this band with their heavy, repetitive and dare I say, almost monotonous drone of sound that sits somewhere between Editors and something much darker. They’re definitely sat on the less pure side of indie and not necessarily for everyone but they’re stylistically edgy and even though the singer’s vocal is quite bland, it is intentionally done to fit with the style and somehow it just works…really well!

Highlight: I particularly loved the singer’s use of two different microphones – one for more crisp vocals and the other for shouts and harmonic wails that have tons of reverb on – it’s a pretty unique element to the performance. What’s more – he knows how to get lost in the music and really let loose!

Setlist

Silver Tongues
Demeanour
Wednesday’s Child
Empyrean
The Itch
Hang Me High
Whisper
Chain Of Being


IDLES

A hum of anticipation rang through the crowd as the lights went down and IDLES took to the stage. Surrounding the band, were a ring of strobe-like lights which continuously circled the band, getting progressively faster, as they launched into opening song, ‘Colossus’.

Whilst this is not a band I would normally enjoy, I can appreciate the energy that emanates from their performances, bringing punk into the modern, contemporary age.

The band don’t let up for a minute with their passionate, in-your-face and downright ballsy demeanour, fronted by Joe Talbot, who, throughout the show, makes references to now being sober and how he’s recently become a father. He also shares little anecdotes and passes comments on what he’s passionate about, like the importance of looking after each other, when you “argy-bargy” in the crowd.

This is shouty, grungy and lyrically dynamic punk that has picked up fans of all ages – a truly diverse crowd watched in awe as the band members got progressively more pumped up and not once, let the energy in the room, drop.

Even if they’re not your sort of thing, I still recommend checking them out; they put on a great show and they just continue getting bigger, so try and catch them at a more intimate venue, before they’re selling out arenas!

Highlights:

  • When both Lee Kiernan and Mark Bowen got off the stage and worked their way through the crowd to perform amongst the audience, sitting on the floor, before being crowd surfed back to the front…epic!
  • Joe Talbot’s energy throughout was infectious, particularly as he pumped himself up, punching his arms up and down in front of him, like he was operating a pneumatic drill!
  • As the band started their set, the circling lights were mesmerising and quite hypnotic and the audible chaos, the end of their set descended into after Joe left the stage, was equally amazing.
  • The genuine care Joe showed for his fans and the audience by looking out for them and also sharing anecdotes, really engaged the crowd.

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📷 All of the photos in this post, are credited to Damon Peirce  📸
Why not give him a follow on Instagram and Twitter or check out his website.


 Setlist

Colossus
Well Done
I’m Scum
Queens
Great
Danny Nedelko
Divide & Conquer
1049 Gotho
Love Song
Never Fight A Man With A Perm
Mother
Faith In The City
All I Want For Christmas (Is You) (Mariah Carey cover)
Benzocaine
Samaritans
Exeter
Television
Rottweiler


Finally, I want to say a big thanks to Rob from Sonic PR for making this review happen and also to both IDLES and Crows for putting on a great show!


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other live reviews here:

Muzik Speaks Live Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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www.twitter.com/muzik_speaks