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Album Review: Wallows’ sophomore album has a feel-good sound with heart-rending lyrics

It’s been about three years since the popular indie-rock band Wallows had released their first hit album Nothing Happens. Back and better than ever, they’ve released their sophomore album Tell Me That It’s Over featuring 10 brand new tracks. The three members, Dylan Minnette, Braeden Lemasters and Cole Preston, all return with an ambitious goal to improve their unique feel-good sound while they sing about relationships, breakups and vulnerability. 

The band is known to generate songs that are upbeat and euphoric, and this new album does not shy away from that generalization. Their feel-good music genuinely accomplishes its goal and never fails to do so. Every song vibrantly pushes warm energy, feeling sunny and bright, perfect for the spring and summer seasons. Essentially an album perfect for outside activities, or possibly anything that will get you up and moving. 

They’ve become slightly more experimental, having included several new instruments along the way. Strings, synthesizers, harmonicas, recorders, horns and so many other instruments seep their way into several songs, adding more layers to their music. There is something new and exciting to find during each listen, making it an album that gets better with every listen. 

The album’s opener, “Hard to Believe,” sets up the whole album in a brilliant way. It starts off with only vocals and strings but then ascends into their familiar sound. Not only that but it shares several lyrics and instruments that will be often presented throughout the album, while also inserting the album’s name into various songs. 

The album contains its fair share of catchy tunes, “Marvelous” and “Permanent Price” to name a few. It is not unknown for the band to have the ability to make extremely catchy songs, especially with previous hit songs like “Are You Bored Yet?” and “Scrawny” having the replay button on standby. 

“Permanent Price” contains an exhilarating duet between Minnette and his girlfriend Lydia Night, who is the lead singer of another indie-rock band The Regrettes. In this song, their voices blend so well as they sing about falling for someone. An overall delight of a song as they sing “The permanent price, the look in your eyes / I know what you mean without saying a thing.”

While “Permanent Price” is basically a love song, many of the other songs on the album reflect on the downsides of relationships and breakups. Even in their poppy, feel-good sound, they manage to put in lyrics that are quite distressing. In “Hurts Me,” both Minnette and Lemasters sing “Losing control, I start to fold / Karma for heartbreak is really taking its toll.” Vulnerability remains to be a consistent theme across the album, remarkably making it a relatable album. 

Lyrics in “I Don’t Want to Talk” continue that overall theme as they sing, “Realized the older I get, I get more insecure / If I don’t have you by my side, then I can’t be sure.” With the song’s chorus going on to repeat the album’s title in their lyrics, it seems like this song perfectly describes the album as a whole.    

Another song emitting the same message is “Especially You,” with its chorus being the most distinguished in their attempt to display their emotional message further. “Thinking ‘bout what you just said / Sleepless, now my eyes are red / My head can’t comprehend / Living in the background, wondering what you meant” continue their message of what it’s like to be somewhat helpless while in a relationship. Yet again, the song is consistently melodious and upbeat but its lyrics don’t necessarily match its energy, nor does it need to. 

“Missing Out” is a standout track on the album, feeling like a rollercoaster ride consistently throughout the tune. There is a constant change in contrast, going from moments with soft vocals and soft instrumentation to louder vocals and even louder instrumentation. 

Just like their first album, they end the album with a somber sounding song, “Guitar Romantic Search Adventure.” A clever tactic, creating a whole album with back to back poppy, upbeat hits and then ending with a song that resonates so perfectly. The song’s poignant sound feels like a big hug, which makes up for all the disheartening lyrics that were heavily distributed throughout the album.  

While the album is fairly short and it may not have as many hits as their first album, their newest release still holds its own, proving that they have a lot of potential in their music field. The trio shows that lyrics, though meaningful and heartfelt, don’t have to match the sound. It might be a lot to take in at first, but its overall message and sound get better with each listen, just like their previous album which is quite the accomplishment. 


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