Wallows – Model

A no-skips record that tries something new while remaining anchored to their foundations...

Back with their fourth album, ‘Model,’ Wallows are opening up a darker side of themselves as they channel a 2024 retelling of what the early ‘00s sounded like. The latest addition to their discography sees Wallows stray away from the bedroom-indie-pop that they have become intrinsically linked with, yet their newest record is a matured version of it. 

The trio, who are based in Los Angeles, pay homage to the band’s origin as their SoCal feel never really leaves their DNA, which is especially noticeable in ‘Calling After Me.’ Coming up with the likes of Clairo and Declan McKenna, it seems as if Wallows have continued to grow alongside their peers and are now stumbling into the the most interesting part of their career yet. Switching between laid-back nonchalance and emotional switch-ups, ‘Model’s’ excellence lies in its instrumentals. 

Dylan Minette and Braeden Lemasters’s vocals blend in the most magical way as drummer Cole Preston sets the tone in ‘Bad Dreams.’ The hypnotizingly mellow production works as this track is bound to be on repeat for the months to come. Transcending between pop-catchiness and ‘60s soft rock moments, the band proves that they know their forte while they casually play with music that allows them to grow as artists without alienating the fans who’ve become accustomed to their sound. 

Highlights on ‘Model’ include the stand-out song, ‘Canada.’ The band’s whisper-like vocals truly shine through. Although sonically different, it still blends in nicely with the rest of the album. ‘Going Under’ is another stellar addition, as the angelic vocals in the intro tend to break with a crackle here and there before fully spiraling into a distressed state of mind.

Whether it’s Minette and Lemasters’s background as actors or just Wallows’ way of storytelling, ‘Model’ could be the perfect throughline for an on-screen visual project. Especially when it comes to ‘She’s An Actress.’ The track that’s probably the most fun belongs in a dimly red backdrop directed by David Lynch. Alas, pure imagination will have to do for now. Or perhaps the album could lend itself as the perfect soundtrack to a road trip with ever-changing scenery.

As ‘Only Ecstasy’ leads in the end, it makes sure to be the perfect finisher that reels you in to go right back to the beginning and start the process all over again. The line, “Beyond your falling tears, I can see generations in your face, I see the eyes of unborn daughters, I see you on a deathbed too, not long before or after me ‘cuz I don’t wanna outlive you,” might even cast a spell onto everyone who listens close, proving that Wallows’ music will be a staple for years to come.

Never pretending to be anyone they are not, Wallows are indie-pop to its core. Yes, they are reinventing themselves and simultaneously honing in on their craft. But unlike the rapidly evolving trends, they know what works best for them and won’t jump to whatever fad is in the foreground at any moment. While ‘Model’ might just be the fourth installment for them, it’s clear that growing up together has allowed the members to fully play in on each other’s best qualities, resulting in a no-skips record.

8/10

Words: Lauren deHollogne

Related: Keeping The Love Alive – CLASH Meets Wallows

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