Wallows shot to fame with 2017’s Pleaser, but this record proves they were more than just a one-hit wonder, and are one of the best bands of 2022. Alex Tearle reviews.
‘Tell Me That It’s Over’ is an exceptionally well-rounded album, a catchy record filled with pop beats and indie guitars, a really great direction for the band to take. Wallows’ first album, 2019’s ‘Nothing Happens’ was already a cult classic, but ‘Tell Me That It’s Over’ will undoubtedly cement itself as a fan favourite, and one of the best albums of the year. As a big fan of bouncy, entertaining indie pop, this record hits all the right notes, sounding like a combination of Bad Sounds and The Strokes- a testament to how diverse and exceptional the album is.
The album sounds like a mish mash of some of the best pop albums since the 80s, utilising ideas from the music of the previous few decades with a modern twist. At the End of the Day has a brilliant synth keyboard backing that could have been written by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, with a modern beat and style of lyricism reminiscent of Blossoms.
This is all topped off with a fast, repetitive drumbeat, riding the cymbals to create a fast-paced love song that feels like a modern twist on an already successful formula. This track is one of the best pop anthems I’ve heard in a long time, reminiscent of COIN, but standing out as one of the best of the year so far.
An especially great and varied project
The intro track, Hard to Believe, uses a great strings section, almost like a Happy Fits song, topped off with vocals that could have been sung by Julian Casablancas. This is a really excellent track that, though quite different to the others in the album, still feels at home, and is thoroughly entertaining.
Vocals are really solid throughout the album too, with exceptional layering used in Hurts Me, a style pioneered by Bleachers, but mastered here by Wallows. These comparisons to other bands come easily, but are by no means indicative of Wallows stealing the sound of other bands, more showcasing a utilisation of such a vast range of skills.
The utilisation of just one of these styles could have made a particularly interesting album, but Wallows’ use of many showcases an especially great and varied project. ‘Tell Me That It’s Over’ is a seriously exceptional album, using so many ideas that any listener could find a song that resonates with them.
No tracks feel redundant and no sound feels overplayed
A very minor criticism is that the tracks do not particularly blend well. Every track in this album feels as if it could have been released as a single, and each song fades out without really linking to the next. It could therefore be said the album lacks a particular theme because of this, and I feel a simple crossfade could have made the album feel more secure as a package. This being said, the feeling that each track could have been a single, showcases the talent of the band, writing an album in which no tracks feel redundant and no sound feels overplayed.
This being said, some tracks feel as if they have potentially “magpied” a few too many ideas from other bands. Missing Out is one of the heavier tracks from the album, a great guitar track that unfortunately utilises a quite irritating triangle beat, and prominently features a completely out of place saxophone section near its end; a strange inclusion that feels a little too unique.
One of the best send-offs I’ve heard in any album
The album never feels too diverse though, with all the tracks feeling distinct and enjoyable throughout the album’s 34- minute run time. The send-off track, Guitar Romantic Search Adventure, is one of the best send-offs I’ve heard in any album, with a gorgeous piano backing, and classic acoustic guitar chords that fade out with a triumph. On my first listen through I felt as if the album was a little front-loaded (featuring the best tracks at the start of the record) but this ending is so exceptional, it really pulls the record back into the spotlight.
Wallows have made a fantastic pop album here, one of the highlights of the year. There’s enough style and charm on display here- any listener could find something they liked; a real accolade. I’ll be listening to this album for a long time, and Wallows have undoubtedly secured a good few more fans after this record.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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