During the last weeks, I had a couple of bands and acts who released a new album after some decade of being abstinent from that. Covid-19 seems to be a really creative time. This time, I reviewed Exit Wounds, an album by the US band The Wallflowers. Their last album release is dated as of October 2012 – on 9th July 2021, they will do a new one. Here are my thoughts.
The Wallflowers – About The Artists
The Wallflowers have been founded in 1990. The band is doing rock music with country and pop elements. The mastermind behind the band is Jakob Dylan, who is typically singing and playing the guitar at The Wallflowers. The band is sometimes described as his solo project as well. The key musicians on Exit Wounds are Butch Walker (guitar, keyboard, percussion), Mark Stepro (drums), Whynot Jensveld (bass), Aaron Ambry (keyboard) and Val McCallum (guitar). As far as I see, none of these musicians has appeared in previous releases of the band. After a self-titled debut in 1992, the success of Dylan and his project started in 1996 with the Bringing Down the Horse album, which was a four time platinum record in the USA and topped the New Zealand charts. The key song was One Headlight, which topped multiple charts – but also other tracks went high in singles rankings. Even though no other album could in fact connect to that success, the project stayed successful in their home country. Exit Wounds will be the seventh studio album of The Wallflowers.
The Wallflowers – Exit Wounds – Track by Track
The ten track album lasts forty minutes.
1. Maybe Your Heart’s Not In It No More
Some albums come with an opening song which makes you feel, “This one’s could be amazing”. When I first listened to Maybe Your Heart’s Not In It No More, I had exactly that feeling. Like a Tom Petty song performed by Bruce Springsteen. Somehow too good to be true… But it is real – it’s on this record. Like in many songs of the album, the voice by Shelby Lynn gives a great additional touch.
2. Roots And Wings
I showed you how to swing
And I showed you how to strut
That’s my mojo you’re using
That’s my wine getting you drunk
Was I that broke you in
I got you clean clipped and cut
You’re a mule among horses I took you
When God stood you up
Now tell me who could do more
Set myself on fire keeping you warm
Now I’m off the hook he’s on your chin
I gave you roots baby I gave you wings
While the first song was a bit of darker, Roots And Wings comes with more positive energy. The feeling that this album could be a great time is even increasing.
3. I Hear The Ocean When (I Wanna Hear Trains)
For Jakob Dylan fans, the third song will be the first new one – the two openers have already been released as singles. Again, the song comes with a nice rock groove with country and blues elements. The core of the song is definitely the storytelling, though. A good, rather rhythmic, experience.
4. The Dive Bar In My Heart
The Dive Bar In My Heart again plays with very nice melodic themes in a very rhythmic song. The result is a characteristic sound, which still feels familiar – even if you are not a The Wallflowers fan.
5. Darlin’ Hold On (feat. Shelby Lynn)
Darlin’ Hold On is a lovely piano ballad, in which Shelby Lynn also has lead vocal party. Together with a beautiful harmonic setting in the chorus, this leads to one of the most impressive songs of this album. Wow!
6. Move The River
It’s not the shadow of a lost plane
Or the rumble of a railway line
Coming with the strength of an iron horse
And without you on its mind
I’ve been sitting on the fire escape of the
Fairmont looking down
There’s not a bridge going anywhere
You’d wanna be found
Already the first riffs at the beginning of the song tell you: this one is harder, more rocking, darker again. And The Wallflowers do great in that. Jakob Dylan’s voice is simply a perfect fit for that kind of sound. The chorus feels very positive though – and it is coming with a catching melody.
7. I’ll Let You Down (But Will Not Give You Up)
The seventh song has a very similar structure: Dylan’s voice gives a dark and a even somehow depressed feeling in the verses, but the chorus comes with rather positive sounds. Again, I love how Dylan is telling his stories and putting them into a song.
8. Wrong End Of The Spear
Slowly advances and has us surrounded here
And if I’m right then it’s clear
That I’ll be on the wrong end of the spear
Another slow and very deep song. I am just in the stories of the album now and simply enjoy them. Good one.
9. Who’s That Man Walking ‘Round My Garden
The second last track of the album is the third song which fans already got to hear before the album. The song is powerful, when the guitars wake you up and introduce you to the notes and the groove of Who’s That Man Walking ‘Round My Garden. Rock’n’Roll!
10. The Daylight Between Us
The album closes with The Daylight Between Us, which is about mid-tempo. Beautiful rock (with a rather decent Americana touch) at the end of this long-play.
The Wallflowers – Exit Wounds – Spotify
Here is Exit Wounds on Spotify:
The Wallflowers – Exit Wounds – My View
Exit Wounds is a great album by The Wallflowers. I just could not think about Tom Petty – but as I love the music of the legend, it is not a bad thing at all. The album is a cool rock complitations with folk and country sprinkles on it. Dylan’s voice is the selling argument – but Shelby Lynn adds a lot of sunshine to the tunes as well.
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