Wallows is a band that found success through singles, namely “Pleaser,” which released in April 2017 and made it into Spotify’s lists of songs recommended to practically anyone that has a slight interest in indie rock. After their singles gained traction they finally put out their first full length album, Nothing Happens, which walks listeners through the transition from adolescence to adulthood, and all of the struggles that come with it.
The first song delves headfirst into this running theme of looking to ourselves and the relationships we have with others. “Only Friend,” a song that resonates with the sound and feel of their previous EP, transitions into the new album by asking the question, “Who feels alone in this world?/ You do.” Song to song we see this loneliness develop, whether it’s highlighted as a dependence on someone that doesn’t reciprocate certain feelings, regret over leaving someone you care about, feeling uncomfortable in a new relationship and comparing it to your past, or the longing for someone to understand you.
Halfway through, you get thrown into a new element with “Scrawny,” a song used to create a more lighthearted aspect to the work. A goal with this song was to add something comical to the project and clearly conveys the musicians just having fun with each other and their art, with “Scrawny motherfucker with a cool hairstyle” repeated to serve as a chorus.
After “Scrawny,” it goes back to rougher messages that come along with growing up and culminates in the second to last song, “I’m Full,” that summarizes the issues encountered and references the earlier tracks by repeating lines from them, creating a great closing to the album.
While it may be an extremely introspective album riddled with regret and confusion, the music isn’t somber in the slightest. If someone wasn’t listening to the words being said, the album could easily be identified as a compilation of feel-good music, which creates an interesting and unique dynamic. The upbeat tunes tend to work to disguise the harsher tones of the words, paralleling the way we deal with our own issues, by trying to cover up intruding and anxious thoughts with something happier.