With their debut album ‘Nothing Happens’, indie rock band Wallows helped ease the phase from my teenage years into adulthood. The coming-of-age narrative now continues with their second album, ‘Tell Me That It’s Over’ which explores the trials and tribulations of love in the early years of adulthood. In a time when life has seemingly just begun, this record captures the isolation and self-reflection of being alone while also detailing the highs and lows of romantic pursuit. There is an undeniable maturity present in the record that acts as development for the unspoken narrator whose stories inspired the first record. In fact, ‘Tell Me That It’s Over’ is all about the embrace of change and development as proven not only by the reflective lyricism but also by the sonically uncharted territory that Wallows finds themselves in crafting a new sound and tone that works like magic.
Wallows’ first two projects, the ‘Spring‘ EP and their debut album, ‘Nothing Happens‘ have been such an influential voice to my everchanging person. There are tangible feelings and specific memories attached to so many songs from those two projects. The specificity that is so direct that it acts almost like the musical score to a scene from a movie. It’s quite literally the soundtrack of my late teenage years. In the two short years I’ve listened to this band, I promised myself I would go see them live and as a matter of fact, I manifested it. I will be seeing them in Manchester next year and it’s even more special because it’s my first concert experience ever and I couldn’t have chosen any better artists. Truth be told, while I loved the singles, I was admittedly nervous going into the album and I can definitely say that for me, ‘Tell Me That It’s Over’ is a record that grew with me over time. It feels like the culmination of every sound they’ve explored from the rock-heaviness of ‘Spring‘ and the indie-pop nature of ‘Nothing Happens’ to the production-heavy, electropop of ‘Remote‘, all of that is infused with a newer, more mature sound and it all blends together beautifully. It shouldn’t be surprising because every project of theirs is cohesive but something about this particular one feels more special.
Structurally, it follows their debut album almost to a tee. It’s a very fast-paced half-hour that invites plenty of relistens, I’ve already lost count on how many times I’ve listened to it so far. The first couple of songs blaze through the runtime and provide a sense of momentum that the rest of the album upholds very well. There really isn’t a single song that outstays its welcome, the album constantly keeps your attention. Even with a track like ‘Missing Out’ where in its second half, it eases out from its heavy production in favour of a far more mellow sound. It’s arguably the one place in this album where it takes a chance to properly breathe which is then rewarded with the fucking jam that is ‘Hurts Me’. The use of mellow instrumentation to space out the heavy production is used very well and sparingly. While there are tracks with mellow beginnings like the romantic ‘Permanent Price’ and the cinematic ‘Guitar Romantic Search Adventure’, they gradually end up in a much louder place that transforms both songs into something much bigger than what they were when they started. That being said, Wallows made damn sure to include a couple bangers throughout. The singles were stellar although I admittedly wasn’t the biggest fan of ‘I Don’t Want To Talk’, that is until I saw ‘Scream‘ in theatres and it played during the end credits where I lost my shit. Now it’s one of my favourites from the album. Along with the other three singles which showcase this album’s more fun, more pop-heavy moments and it’s a smart move because if there is anything Wallows can do, it’s creating a catchy melody.
While the band has a lot to offer, I would argue that Wallows’ defining quality is their melodic writing. Their ability to create an original melody that is both infectious and stimulating is genuinely understated. It feels like you’re listening to something that’s existed forever. Every song has its own unique personality, every melody gets stuck in your head. Even if a song wasn’t a favourite of mine on my initial listen, over time, I found myself humming or singing along to every single song on the album. It’s quite honestly a perfect album in that sense. However, while the entire thing is fantastic, there are, of course, a number of standouts. The opening track, ‘Hard To Believe’ is their best opener yet and as an ‘Only Friend’ fan, that’s saying something. The playful instrumentation and detailed production against Dylan Minnette’s hypnotic vocals demand that you listen to it over and over again. The euphoric third single, ‘At The End Of The Day’ might be one of their best songs ever. The gradual build-up in the production, the lengthy bridge that I’ll scream every word of when it comes and Braeden Lemasters’s passionate vocals at the forefront make for a genuinely fantastic track. ‘Permanent Price’ is also another great track with the surprise addition of The Regrettes’ Lydia Night who harmonizes effectively with Minnette whom she is dating giving the song an extra romantic kick. Lastly, I want to mention the song ‘Hurts Me’ once again. That melody is offensively catchy and groovy. One of their best pop efforts that deserves to be mentioned in the same vein as ‘Sidelines’, ‘1980s Horror Film II” and ‘Are You Bored Yet?’.
At the end of the day, Wallows manages to reach even higher places than before with a sophomore album that showcases their grip on the indie-rock/pop genre with passionate flair. ‘Tell Me That It’s Over’ continues the brilliance and creativity of ‘Nothing Happens’ in a way that feels naturally progressive. The lyricism is more mature, the storytelling adapts to the early adult years and the band’s overall musical profile is more detailed and sophisticated than ever. I am truly counting down the days till I get to see this wonderful album performed live right before my very eyes. Rest assured, I will be screaming every lyric back to them. I highly doubt Dylan, Braeden or Cole are reading this but if you are, congratulations on a truly fantastic album.
1. At The End Of The Day
2. Hard To Believe
3. I Don’t Want To Talk
4. Hurts Me
5. Permanent Price
6. That’s What I Get
7. Guitar Romantic Search Adventure
8. Especially You
9. Missing Out
‘Tell Me That It’s Over’ is available to stream now.