TAS Rated 4/5 Music, 4/5 Sonics in the October 2021 Issue of The Absolute Sound!
Rock 'n' roll is often hard to define, or even to find, in these fractured musical times. But to paraphrase an old saying, you know it when you hear it.
And you always hear it with The Wallflowers. For the past 30 years, the Jakob Dylan-led act has stood as one of rock's most dynamic and purposeful bands - a unit dedicated to and continually honing a sound that meshes timeless songwriting and storytelling with a hard-hitting and decidedly modern musical attack. That signature style has been present through the decades, baked into the grooves of smash hits like 1996's Bringing Down the Horse as well as more recent and exploratory fare like 2012's Glad All Over.
But while it's been nine long years since we've heard from the group with whom he first made his mark, the Wallflowers are silent no more. And Dylan always knew they'd return. "The Wallflowers is much of my life's work," he says simply. That life's work continues with Exit Wounds, the brand-new Wallflowers studio offering. The collection marks the first new Wallflowers material since Glad All Over.
Exit Wounds, which, true to its title, is an ode to people - individual and collective - that have, to put it mildly, been through some stuff.
"I think everybody - no matter what side of the aisle you're on - wherever we're going to next, we're all taking a lot of exit wounds with us," Dylan says. "Nobody is the same as they were four years ago. That, to me, is what Exit Wounds signifies. And it's not meant to be negative at all. It just means that wherever you're headed, even if it's to a better place, you leave people and things behind, and you think about those people and those things and you carry them with you. Those are your exit wounds. And right now, we're all swimming in them."
With a long nine-year hiatus between Wallflowers records, it's especially satisfying to savor the return of Jakob Dylan and his band of cohorts with the stirring new release, Exit Wounds... The excellent first two singles, 'Maybe Your Heart's Not in it No More' and 'Roots and Wings', showcase bruised, midtempo melodies burnished by Dylan's sultry husk of a voice. His vocals, featured up front in the rich mix, stand out all over this record, providing understated warm solace. With her own throaty contribution, country singer Shelby Lynne shares vocals with Jakob on four tracks, and it's a graceful collaboration, especially on the hopeful ballad, 'I'll Let You Down.' These lean arrangements reaffirm the Wallflowers' strengths: vocals, guitar, and songwriting that's so consistent you'd be tempted to suspect it's an inherited gene. There's a palpable sense of cathartic relief on Exit Wounds, as if a long nightmare is over and it's time to embrace what the new dawn brings.
- Vinyl LP
- Maybe Your Heart's Not In It No More
- Roots And Wings
- I Hear The Ocean (When I Wanna Hear Trains)
- The Dive Bar In My Heart
- Darlin' Hold On
- Move The River
- I'll Let You Down (But Will Not Give You Up)
- Wrong End Of The Spear
- Who's That Man Walking 'Round My Garden
- The Daylight Between Us