Wallows 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.
‘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.