Wallows Review

Author: Stephanie Hauser


Last month on August 6, fans lucky enough to secure a ticket to the Wallows surprise show “Live at the Roxy” were treated to a sneak peak of an unreleased track at the set’s close. The song was teased earlier in the month across the band’s official social media accounts, later performed for the first time live in concert and officially released on September 30 with an accompanying video. 

The track debuted as a single, making it their first release since their last album Remote a reworked version of their fourth studio album Nothing Happens. The band targeted its release as promotional material for their upcoming album, which is presumed to be in its closing stages and ready to be made public later this year. 

Although effective in piquing interest in the upcoming album premiere, the media attention the song has received in the past week is significantly lesser than that of their previous hit, “Are You Bored Yet,” which has accumulated over 400 million streams on Spotify since its release in 2019 and served to effectively make a name for the group in the mainstream music industry. However, whatever variance the tracks may have in overall media attention does not carry over into the music itself. 

Both songs begin slowly with a nearly silent, distorted instrumental introduction — one that feels almost too long — which is promptly interrupted by a retro electronic beat reminiscent of both ‘80s pop and the band’s signature sound. The mellow music makes for a soft and somewhat hazy-feeling background to the simple lyrics and lead singer Dylan Minette’s classically clear intonation. 

Despite sticking to their usual style, though, the band does venture to take a few risks on the record. In addition to the artificial beat, there is a more acoustic sound than is typical for Wallows, with the inclusion of muted guitars and harmonicas. Interestingly, there is also an “alarm-like” horn layered as a stark and dissonant contrast to the otherwise smooth and melodious instrumentation. 

Minette did recently reveal that the lyrics are intended to center on a sense of relationship insecurity that perhaps provided the inspiration for this dissonance, acting in such a way that is just loud enough to shift the tone of the piece from mellow background music to a standalone single.