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Live: WALLOWS // Electric Brixton, London

Taking over Electric Brixton for a sold-out London show, Wallows treated us to a night full of soaring indie anthems and sentimental hooks that will be remembered for a long time.

Wallows have been on everyone’s lips for the last couple of years and there’s a good reason for that. With a modern take on their 80’s inspired sound, they fit somewhere between ‘old’ and ‘new’ appealing to a wide range of listeners. Blending elements of synth-pop and bedroom pop, with a hint of post-punk dropped in to the mix, they’ve created their own brand of pop/rock that’s raw, unapologetic and simply sensational. Putting on live shows that grasp with every second of every song, they only add an extra dimension to their music.

With their debut album Nothing Happens receiving a rating of 5/5 from us in our album review, I must admit that live Wallows deserve at least 7/5. What’s more, I think they might be the best live band I’ve seen this year so far.

Complementing the band’s retro aesthetics, the embellished tiered balconies and a disco ball glowing in the dark of the venue made for a perfect match that evening. Having filled up quickly with eager masses, the walls of Electric Brixton began to tremble with excitement the moment the band appeared on the stage. And as much as the trio delivered an outstanding performance, some credit must go to the crowd as their loud screams and singing along set the decibel levels sky high.

Diving headfirst into the songs taken from their debut album, Treacherous Doctor set a fast pace from the start with its adrenaline-charged rush of sparkling guitars and galloping drums. With a light falsetto and a pensive tone to it, Sidelines gently carried out the nostalgia embedded in its sun-soaked melodies, whilst Scrawny was sure to go down as a massive hit in the live setting. Championing self-love and being true to yourself, the track channelled the band’s unabashed confidence and swaggering attitude with its tongue-in-cheek lyrics, such as “I’m a scrawny motherfucker with a cool hairstyle”. Needless to say, the audience loved every second of it.

The mash-up of Ice Cold Pool and Underneath The Streetlights In The Winter Outside Your House was one of the standout moments of the set. Bringing in the disco-style and vibrant glam of the 80’s, the exuberant brass instrumentation and groovy bass lines in Ice Cold Pool mixed with the raw turbulent nature of the latter was just delightful.

Genuinely overwhelmed by the crowd’s reaction, the band kept the energy going throughout the set. Whilst Sun Tan served some old school Wallows vibes, Let The Sun In & Drunk On Halloween impressed with the band’s signature hopeless romanticising and melancholic glow. There’s no doubt that Are You Bored Yet? triggered one of the loudest singalongs of the night, having the crowd swaying along to its dulcet dual vocal harmonies and blissful instrumentals. Haunting electronics in their expansive cut Do Not Wait were slowly bringing us to a close.

Presenting the full band at the mic stands, the stripped-back arrangement of 1980s Horror Film made for a beautiful moment with every voice in the room joining in. Next, the band announced: “This is actually gonna be our last song and I already can’t wait to be back”. Finishing off with their debut single Pleaser, it surely didn’t feel like it was enough.

With over 40 million career streams, major festivals slots, a sold-out headline tour and a TV debut amongst their accomplishments to date, Wallows have already cemented their status as one of the most exciting new bands on the music scene. There’s something new, or different, about them that somehow makes them stand out from the crowd of always-sounding-the-same indie groups. Perhaps, it’s their broad music potential, or the way they connect with their audience, or their youthful charm that makes us all feel sentimental and nostalgic. Whatever that is, it surely is working because Wallows have only released one album and they already are a band on the eve of global stardom.

Photos: Kasia Osowiecka