Andrew’s Album Review: “Nothing Happens” by Wallows

Andrew Wessel, Herald Contributor

The new indie-rock band, Wallows, has just released their very first record entitled “Nothing Happens.” Released on March 22, 2019, the album uses many elements of music from the ’80s. These elements include synth sounds, background string sections, slightly-distorted guitars and muffled drums. They also incorporate new sounds, such as the heavy electronic sounds used in “Treacherous Doctor.” Headed by “13 Reasons Why” actor Dylan Minnette, the band is a trio of young musicians from California. The three trade off instruments and vocals throughout the songs.

The first track on the album, “Only Friend,” sounds like it was written as an art-song during the early ’70s and recorded with technology from 2019. The band uses guitars, bass and drums for a soft, steady rhythm. The introduction of strings and electronics throughout the song are what deems this to be an art-song —similar to the likes of music by The Beatles. The smooth vocals, provided by Minnette in this song, talk of a friendship between a boy and a girl nearing its end. The vocalist sings from the boy’s perspective and wishes that his only friend would come back to him, as he has no one left. “Will you come back again? I only need a friend. When it’s all said and done. Will you need me too, girl?” This is my favorite song on the record.

The second track that really caught my ear was “Are You Bored Yet? (feat. Clairo).” This song has strong 80’s vibes, heavily relying on keyboards, synths and floaty guitar to give that retro, “high school dance feel” to the listener. The vocals are shared by Minnette and a featured artist who goes by the name of Clairo. Clairo is a singer from Carlisle, Mass. who has a voice that perfectly fits the ’80s sound for this song. Her voice and Minnette’s intertwine in a duet style during the choruses — something we don’t see much from modern music in 2019. The song addresses relationships that feel as if they can last forever, but can also sometimes grow a little stale. “’Cause we could stay at home and watch the sunset. But I can’t help from asking, ‘Are you bored yet?’ And if you’re feeling lonely, you should tell me. Before this ends up as another memory. Will you tell the truth so I don’t have to lie?”

The last song that stood out to me was “Sidelines.” The vocals of this song are provided by one of the other members, Braeden, who has a distinctive timbre in his voice that compliments the band’s indie-style very well. This song is more laid-back than some of the other songs on the record. It has a warm energy emanating from it that stems from the guitar and keyboard melody and the soft use of drums. During the last chorus of the song, there is also an introduction of “interstellar-esque” keyboards that adds extra depth to the song. The lyrics talk of how the speaker has ended a relationship even though the two people in said relationship truly love each other. The speaker then spends his days thinking of this lost relationship and watches his ex-girlfriend go out with other people. “I see you loving on the sidelines. I think about it at the wrong times. I see you loving on the sidelines. (I don’t wanna know) who you’ll be taking with you tonight.”

Overall, this is an awesome album. It pays homage to earlier bands with musical elements from the ’70s and ’80s. Many of the lyrics are about relationships in various forms, which I am sure a lot of us can relate to. This band is going to be big, so you better jump on their fan base now. I can’t wait to see what else this band has in store for the future. I hope you enjoy the record as much as I do.