Wallows’ debut album, Nothing Happens challenges you to confront your inner feelings while grappling with old and new headspaces. Cathartic synths envelop the listener sonically and you are taken into a wide field of emotion. This field is full of brightly coloured flowers and dying pale brown weeds. It signifies the union in old and new experiences. The flower’s beauty is not diminished by the surrounding death, it is intensified.
Listening, I found myself acknowledging the worst parts of the human experience, yet relishing in the groundwork it lays for the future you, which is especially evident in the closing song ‘Do Not Wait’. It builds up, carrying the album to a finish that is total and complete.
You’re not left wanting more, instead you are completely satisfied, feeling whole.
Dylan Minnette, Braeden Lemasters and Cole Preston put their mark on what it means to be in your “twenties” with “nothing to look forward to” as they croon on ‘Treacherous Doctor’. Growing up is never easy for anyone, but it is especially difficult in the climate we have today. The world is at war with itself and the battlefield is running on a clock that’s almost out of time. ‘Treacherous Doctor’ refuses to succumb to the uncertainty of tainted growth however by contrasting the lyricism with upbeat and eccentric drum patterns.
Nuanced, and at times nostalgic, Wallows keeps emotion at the forefront of this immaculate debut album. Their artistry can be credited to the amount of time they’ve already been together. This is not a new act. For over 10 years Wallows has been perfecting their craft. Many of the album’s songs stem from lyrics and experiences that have been ruminating on for years.
Genius tells us about the story of Ice Cold Pool “and how it pays homage to Wallows songs of the past” by using lyrics from previously released songs that they have reconstructed. Another callback to the interconnectivity of the past, pain and growth.
Wallows is a ‘new’ artist with the sound of a seasoned artist, somehow wrapped into a debut album. It makes the listener wonder “How have they not been out for years already?”
Their sound is on time with today, yet it remains fresh and unique. At a time when songwriting can be widely ignored in popular music, Wallows refuses to let the art of lyricism die. The honesty portrayed on this album brings us closer to who they are, and who they were.
Nothing Happens also has more easily digestible songs like the first single ‘Are You Bored Yet? (ft. Clairo)’. Songs like this and ‘Scrawny’ allow for people to find themselves unintentionally bopping along. These two songs are less melancholy and give Wallows their access to pop audiences. Where some artists get lost in the ‘artistry’ of it all, Wallows makes a conscious decision to acknowledge the beauty in connecting to a wider audience.
The album exudes confidence, persevering through pain. Dwelling on heavy topics is useless, but reflection is essential. This motif is strong throughout the album as each song leans on the other when listening all-the-way-through. There are no hard stops, and if unknown to the listener, the transitions from song to song are so seamless that you could mistake it as one long piece of work. The unification of the songs and beauty and pain implies that all of these experiences are connected, they make the whole, and we cannot stop going or we’ll never finish. Each moment is pushing us to the next.
Stream Nothing Happens here.
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For information on Wallows’ upcoming tour, check out their website here.