“Nothing Happens” displays modern indie-rock

Wallows’ debut album beautifully balances rock, pop sounds


Jimmy Fontaine

Fair use from Atlantic Records

David Bryant

After a shower of outstanding singles throughout 2017 and a 6-track EP in 2018, Los Angeles indie rock band Wallows pulls through with their debut album “Nothing Happens.”

The initial publicity from the three-man band Wallows came from vocalist and guitarist Dylan Minnette, who held a lead role in the Netflix hit show “13 Reasons Why.” Although the success, “Nothing Happens” displays visible talent that Minnette is talent in more than one area.

“Nothing Happens” is stacked from beginning to end with groovy songs, covering mostly lighthearted lyrical themes. The pre-release of “Nothing Happens” consisted of two excellent songs, “Are You Bored Yet ” and “Scrawny,” a perfect duo of the poppier and crunchy indie rock sides that Wallows has to offer.

“Only Friend,” the introductory track to “Nothing Happens,” fades in with a jumpy, repetitive guitar riff quickly followed by a fun chord progression and simple backbeat. Minnette’s lyrics talk about a transition in his life as he finds his place in the world through his voice. The clear step up in production from the band’s debut project “Spring EP” shows this change.

The effortless transition from “Only Friend” to “Treacherous Doctor” and various other transitions throughout the album make the album that much easier to listen to. “Treacherous Doctor,” another spunky indie rock track, does a fantastic job dynamically going from a heavy chorus to soft verses. In addition, the trade-off of verses between Minnette and Braeden Lemasters allows for each of them to bounce ideas to one another through their sections of the song.
“Sidelines,” one of the more upbeat tracks of the album, does a good job adding some lighter, fuzzy guitar tones in the background to prevent the track from being a boring Top-40 hit. The simple lyrical theme of his lover being secretive about potential cheating is pretty unoriginal. Nonetheless I can’t say it’s not a fun song or that I didn’t enjoy it.  

“Remember When” is easily one of my favorite tracks from the album, opening with a fantasizing picked guitar riff. The jumpy guitar tigg and thumpy bass were very reminiscent of old works of The Strokes with modern elements like synths. The track is incredibly punchy and impactful with once again Minnette and Lemasters giving their take on one verse and coming together for an anthem-worthy chorus.

Overall, “Nothing Happens” is an incredibly strong album full of fun, indie rock tones with light pop influences that perfectly encase everything I look for in today’s fading popularity of rock music.

“Nothing Happens:” ★★★★★