WALLOWS’ TELL ME THAT IT'S OVER
A review of Wallows’ album Tell Me That It’s Over, released March 25th
By Kiara Tynan
Over a year and a half since their last EP, Remote, Wallows returns with the release of their sophomore album, Tell Me That It’s Over. The album details the insecurities that build in a slow-dying relationship, made clear by the plea of the album title, a line that is echoed throughout the album. While the lyrics focus on ideas explored in previous releases, the instrumentals are a major departure, signifying a new era for Wallows.
The band experiments with the usage of strings, harmonicas, and banjos, layered into their established indie-rock and electronic sound, to create something new and surprising that makes the listener feel fresh and revitalized. The energetic instrumentals are only emphasized by the contrast of low, often solemn voices that deliver the heart of the record. The music sweeps you up into the highs of a relationship, then takes a hard stop through the moments of lamentation over how the passion died.
Wallows opens the record with “Hard to Believe”— a slow build, folding in whistles, strings, and synthesizers, till it bursts with sound, then drops in energy, only to restart the pattern in the next track. The opening lines “I know the summer won’t change/All the fires that start can’t be saved/Does that apply to you and me too?/There’s some things I’ve been meaning to say to you,” establish the focus immediately. The rest of the album sounds like a running monologue of everything they’ve been meaning to say.
Lead single “I Don’t Want to Talk,” is upbeat and exciting, with a sound that perfectly reflects the essence of the song. Vocalists Braedan Lemasters and Dylan Minnette own their grief and that things aren’t alright, but they still need an escape. The track sounds like the high you’re riding in an effort to avoid the troubles you’re all too aware of.
Coupled with a dreamy 80’s sound, “At the End of the Day” questions a relationship on the decline. Uncertainty is a major theme of the album, as the vocalists ask their lovers where they stand, and are forced to reckon with what they really want. Lemasters declares, “If you wanted I would never call you/never think about you/or never let you go.” Uncertain what his lover wants, he’ll do anything to make them happy. “Permanent Price” sweetly considers the love they have for their partner in the midst of their anxieties, delivered by Minnette, with backing vocals by his girlfriend and frontwoman of The Regrettes Lydia Night.
The album ends on a hopeful note, with “Guitar Romantic Search Adventure”. Minnette reflects on the good times of the relationship and the insecurities explored throughout the record. As much as he has begged for an end to his torment, he comes to the resolution “don’t tell me that it’s over.” In a departure from the lovelorn lyrics that saturate the album, the pre-chorus cuts with the line “My life’s going by but it’s just begun.” Even when it feels like your whole world is falling apart with the death of a relationship, the next phase of your life has only just begun.
Like in previous albums, Wallows manages to contrast their often sad, anxiety-stricken lyrics with energetic, light instrumentals, creating an adaptable sound you crave. Whether you’re having your own relationship fears or feeling upbeat in the sun, Tell Me That It’s Over is the perfect soundtrack.