Wallows – “Nothing Happens” Album Review

posted March 28, 2019 in Arts & Entertainment by Jade Campos.

Wallows emerged onto the indie-rock scene in 2017 after being signed to Atlantic Records. Before getting a record deal, the band had performed in the 2011 Warped Tour. They consist of three members, including the actors Braeden Lemasters and Dylan Minnette, stars in the popular show “13 Reasons Why.”

Their new album “Nothing Happens” dropped on March 22 after the release of their new single, “Are You Bored Yet?” was released in early February.

“Nothing Happens” isn’t a breakthrough in the indie genre, but it is certainly a terrific album. It is upbeat and fun, sounding like a defining album of the oncoming summer. The indie genre is a difficult one to break into because very few artists are able to prove themselves to listeners. Yet, “Nothing Happens” offers a hybrid of The Front Bottoms and The Psychedelic Furs which makes them a promising act for the future.

The album starts with a fade into the driving track “Only Friend.” The vocals sound almost warped, which offers an interesting contrast to the constant melody played throughout the song. It is a promising start to the album. “Only Friend” begins to fade out much in the same way as it had faded in, tricking audiences to believing things were ending. However, they were only just beginning.

Perhaps one of the most enjoyable parts of the album was the transition to the second track, “Treacherous Doctor.”

The fade continues onto the opening of “Treacherous Doctor” and flawlessly jolts listeners into the next song. Transitions can be really tricky because they can make an album feel like one huge song or like a set of tracks that were truly not meant to be together. The juxtaposition of the soft fade and the upbeat guitar of “Treacherous Doctor” is done almost effortlessly.

It’s rather disappointing, however, that the group chose to not continue with such an incredible part of the album. It makes listeners excited to hear two tracks joined together so well, and it was a mistake for Wallows to not marry the whole album as one.

There are a few pairings on the album that transition into the upcoming song (“Worlds Apart” to “What You Like” and “I’m Full” to “Do Not Wait”), but it is not something that was carried through the entire album. It could have been the dreams of what The Beatles had hoped to accomplish with “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

The album is well done, nonetheless. Listeners can be satisfied with the end product even if they aren’t blown away. It is an indie-rock album that does everything right.

What is special about the indie genre is that it almost seems to take from every genre and get away with it. “Nothing Happens” is a combination of synth pop, driving rock and folk. It nails “indie” on the head.

The lead vocalist is charming, which gives “Nothing Happens” flavor and personality. It is delightful because the vocals are not perfect but they have character. It is one of the defining features of Wallows that listeners will adore.

“Nothing Happens” has very little problems because it follows a formula so well for an up-and-coming indie band. Overall, it is an incredible album, but it is hard to pick out a favorite song on the first few listens because none of them stand out among the rest. Yet, this could mean that Wallows just don’t know how to make a terrible song.

Wallows are certainly a group for listeners to keep their eyes on in the upcoming years. It is not very often that indie bands break into the mainstream, but it is possible that Wallows could be among a rare few. However, that just means the group must learn to fall away from the formula in their upcoming works.

Rating: 8/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Tracks: “Ice Cold Pool” and “Worlds Apart”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Track: “Scrawny”


Jade Campos is a freshman majoring in print journalism. To contact her, email jmc7727@psu.edu.