Album Review // WALLOWS ‘Nothing Happens’
Wrapped up in sentimental hooks and introspective lyricism, the debut album from Wallows is a bumpy journey towards adulthood captured in 11 effortlessly penned indie anthems.
With over 40 million career streams, major festivals slots, a sold-out headline tour and a TV debut amongst their accomplishments to date, there’s no doubt that Wallows have already cemented their status as one of the most exciting new bands on the music scene. Releasing their debut album Nothing Happens, it now shows a more vulnerable and a more mature side to the band, elevating them to new heights.
Living in the digital age where the lines between reality and fantasy get blurred ever so often, it is very easy to lose your identity and beliefs. People label you based on a single tweet or a photo, whilst love is basically being downgraded to one swipe in the left or right direction. No wonder we seek something tangible, something real. Whilst many bands nowadays choose to follow the path of sonic explorations and try to compose music that would be revolutionary in a way, Wallows stick to what they do best, crafting an album that is raw, unapologetic and simply sensational. With a tinge of hopeless romanticising, they explore all stages of infatuation and heartbreak, and remind us how important it is to always stay true to yourself.
Drawing on their signature retro aesthetics, Wallows fuse their old school influences with modern elements on the new record. With a delicate lo-fi feel to it, Nothing Happens is a surge of swirling melodies and sardonic twists which stand testament to their gifted craftsmanship in creating indie hits. Opener Only Friend introduces us to its upbeat instrumental section from the very first note. Heartfelt vocals and dynamic rhythmics bring out the passion behind the affectionate lyrics, as our swaying hips gradually join in.
Tackling the theme of existential crisis in one’s youth and looking for a sense of purpose, the adrenaline-charged rush of invigorating guitars and fast-paced drums in Treacherous Doctor is an excellent conduit for their emotional turmoil. Asking a question: “So what’s the point of connecting to anyone?”, it sheds light on the shallowness and ignorance we are often exposed to.
Exploring uncertainty and confusion that love brings along, Are You Bored Yet? (feat. Clairo) is a swaying blend of dulcet dual vocal harmonies and blissful instrumentals, revealing the band’s tender and vulnerable nature. Nostalgic all throughout, Sidelines brings us closer to the end of a relationship as we dive deeper into the sun-soaked melodies. With a light falsetto and a pensive tone to it, the track creates one of the most euphoric moments on the record, despite its bitter topic of course.
Championing self-love and being true to yourself, Scrawny is an absolute masterpiece that sets a change of pace. Channelling the band’s unabashed confidence and swaggering attitude, its propulsive drums and tongue-in-cheek lyrics, such as “I’m a scrawny motherfucker with a cool hairstyle”, easily take the centre stage and are sure to go down as a loud singalong at their live shows.
Bringing in the disco-style and vibrant glam of the 80’s, the exuberant brass instrumentation and groovy bass lines in Ice Cold Pool are simply delightful. On the other hand, we’ve got Worlds Apart which creates a deep sense of melancholia, as raw faded vocals swathe us in a hazy soundscape speckled with a shimmering synth-infusion. Elsewhere on the record, Remember When speed things up a bit, whilst dark haunting electronics of Do Not Wait invite us on an expansive, over six-minute long nostalgic trip which brings us to a final close.
In contrary to its title, a lot happens on this record. With coherency and authenticity lying at its core, Nothing Happens is a coming-of-age story that deals with intricacies of love and hardships of life as well as a feeling of being misunderstood. It’s as intimate as it is bold, and with a glimmer of hope piercing through, there is no doubt that it will strike a chord with many listeners.