Album Review: Tell Me That It’s Over // Wallows

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Three-piece indie band, Wallows made up of guitarist Dylan Minnette, bassist Braeden Lemasters, and Drummer Cole Preston, have returned with their second full-length album, Tell Me That It’s Over. After making it big on TikTok during the pandemic, their track ‘Are You Bored Yet?’ launched them into the mainstream music industry. The band mentions that they haven’t been able to truly come to grips with their popularity owing to not being able to play in-person live shows. Preston details what their post-pandemic plans are: ‘Up next for us is this second record, and we’re back touring, and I think that will be the time when [we] actually materialise all that’s happened.’

The album offers something new and electrifying by tackling a variety of genres that we haven’t seen before from the group. However, from a first listen, it is clear that long-term fans will recognise that this is a Wallows album. The direction that Wallows’ sound is going in feels like a natural progression for them; Tell Me That It’s Over takes on a more refined production compared to their slightly more raw debut LP. Even though the album is not necessarily groundbreaking for the indie scene, it does not take away any of the enjoyment the listener will gain from immersing themselves in the songs.

Kicking off the album is ‘Hard to Believe’, a song that encapsulates the coming of age anxiety that many young adults have to battle with. The song begins with Minnette’s vocals pleading for a break from the constant worry he is facing: “And I just want to breathe / Is that so hard to believe?”. The stripped-back instrumentals set up the energy that Tell Me That It’s Not Over will tackle and teases the listener into the journey they are about to take. 

The lead single ‘I Don’t Want to Talk’ transports fans back into Wallows’ habitual sound with its heavy focus on drum beats and Minnette’s famously almost monotone vocals. The encompassing noise of overbearing instrumentals matches the internal fears of losing a partner that the lyrics explore: “Feeling like my mind’s wiped / He looks more like your type / If I leave you tonight, will he leave your eyes wide”.

We are thrown off course by ‘At the End of the Day’ with its 80s sound. Any track that Lemasters provides vocals for is magically turned into a retro-inspired masterpiece. This can similarly be heard through ‘Hurts Me’. ‘Hurts Me’ feels like a disco track that could be played in an underground dance club, which is in direct contrast to the angsty lyrics. Lemasters’ higher pitch when matched directly against Minnette’s adds layers to the group’s dynamic that drag the listener further into uncovering them. 

‘Permanent Price’, ‘Missing Out’, and ‘That’s What I Get’ offer us fragments of respite in between the preppy indie-pop tracks that dominate the album. The songs’ more mellow sounds remind us that Wallows can do sincerity without the need to mask the sombre lyrics with upbeat basslines and trance-inducing synths. Despite the slower melodies that these tracks take on, they do not come across as filler and are able to demonstrate that they have a rightful place on the LP.

‘Guitar Romantic Search Adventure’ rounds off the album with a sweet and dreamlike quality. Its extraterrestrial-esque synths that weave in and out of the acoustic-based track allow the listener to be completely submerged in the world of Wallows. The LP’s closing lyrics of “I look forward to a little me and you / So now I hope that you don’t tell me that it’s over” sums up the listening experience. The liminal space that Wallows creates with their sound is so intoxicating that you never want it to end. The tracks seem to just wash so quickly over you that by the end, you are left begging for the band to tell you it’s not over. 

Words by Amy Britton


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