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Kaleidoscope of Sound - Wallows

Today, indie rock darlings Wallows release their highly anticipated new album ‘Model’ - a kaleidoscope of sound that perfectly captures the essence of youthful exuberance and introspection, carrying a well balanced mix of refreshingly new sounds, and the familiarity of our favourite Wallows records. 

Written by Oli Spencer

Growing both as individuals and as a band, ‘Model’ feels more than just an album, it feels like a reflection of the band’s shining evolution. Made up of the band's frontman Dylan Minnette, and bandmates Braeden Lemasters and Cole Preston, the trio’s chemistry is palpable, and only enlivens with each record.

Kicking off their album rollout with the exciting arrival of ‘Your Apartment’ back in February, as their first released music in around two years - followed by the infectious ‘Calling After Me’, and one of our newfound favourite Wallows songs ‘Bad Dream’ that really hits in all the right places. For us, the single covers caught our attention in a different way than previous records, with the album’s imagery having a heavy focus on rooms, furniture and liminal spaces that really has curiosities racing. A staircase leading to nowhere, a front door enclosed by bricks, and who is on the end of the phone line? It feels like there is so much to discover within the album’s 12 songs. As per usual, a standout aspect of the album is its crisp and vibrant production, handled by legendary producer John Congleton and his musical magic - a real sonic playground, blending their signature indie rock sound with sprinkles of synth-pop. The record promises to be loved by long-time fans, and will certainly attract a whole new group of listeners eager to dive into the rest of their discography. 

Adding to the excitement of the album's arrival, Wallows are heading down to our side of the globe this December for two arena shows - TSB Arena in Wellington on the 17th, and Spark Arena on the 18th. Last time around they really brought the energy to the Town Hall, and matched its grand nature effortlessly. This time around, they’re giving fans plenty of time to familiarise themselves with the album, which in turn should make for another incredible atmosphere on the night - just bigger and better.  

We caught up with Wallows again as their album etched closer, and spoke about the band reaching all new heights, the excitement of a new album and touring with Aotearoa’s beloved BENEE.

To revisit our ‘Tell Me That It’s Over’ cover story, click here

And to check out our game of Song Association with Wallows, click here

Your new album ‘Model’ is out in a few days, what’s the general feeling right now?

Braeden: The general feeling right now is excitement! I’m really excited for people to hear this album maybe more than ever just because I feel like I could casually put it on and really enjoy it the most out of our albums before they dropped. I really hope our fans really connect with it, I’m just excited. 

Dylan: It’s definitely not the same feeling with this one in a good way, I’m able to put it on and have no fear. Full confidence, it feels good! 

What do you think has specifically caused that?

Cole: That’s a great question… What can I cook up here? I think that we are more experienced as a band. Of course you make your first record and it feels like such a big deal to you because it’s your proper introduction to music. I don’t think for our second record we faced tons of pressure, you know because we were coming off the heels of having some success with the single ‘Are You Bored Yet?’ - but then it was also heading into pandemic times, we hadn’t been on the road, it was a strange time all and all. Then we did a whole ass tour and we played an insane amount of shows. This time we had a second, then made the record, we were aware of the tour that was coming, and got on the exact same page as our producer John who also did ‘Nothing Happens’. So I think we are just more experienced and more prepared than we were in the past, as a band and also just as people in our lives too. Maybe that’s why?

What kinds of physical spaces were you in when you made the album?

Cole: We did record it at sunset sound… 

Dylan: Yeah it was all at studio sunset sound which is an iconic recording studio in LA, we recorded the ‘Spring’ EP there. It was interesting though because, ironically, our last two albums were recorded inside of homes. There was a home that was converted into a studio for 'Nothing Happens', and then the majority of 'Tell Me That It’s Over' was recorded in our producer Ariel's house. This was the first full album we have done in a proper classic recording studio - to me that’s ironic because all of the art and visuals for this album is centered in a home or in liminal spaces. 

We can’t wait to have you guys back here - plus you’re playing a bigger venue this time, two arena shows! What was your favourite part about your last NZ show at the town hall? 

Braeden: I remember just how unbelievably beautiful it was, and just amazing food, amazing people, all the people we met were so nice. I remember the venue had a big organ behind us, I wore really funny shoes that day… I kind of regretted the shoes I wore that day. Can’t wait to be back!

Cool little NZ link to have BENEE open for you overseas as well!

Braeden: Yeah! We actually met her on that trip. 

Dylan: We went to her house after the show and had such a great time.

Cole: That whole crew was so cool, I remember everyone was so excited about the little DJ mixer, it was really cool! 

Dylan: We are so excited to bring her on the road here, I wish it could be there but she’s a little too big to play with us there in her home. 

I asked you this last time we spoke... When you look back on this moment in your life, what will you remember the most? Last time you said it felt like you were in the eye of the storm. 

Cole: Woah…

Dylan: Eye of the storm? What did we mean by that? 

Cole: It’s fun hearing that, I don’t even remember! 

Yeah for context, it was a few weeks away from the release of Tell Me That It's Over', and the day we spoke it had just been announced that you were playing Coachella again. Big things!

Dylan: That’s a couple years ago now, damn.

Cole: It’s a different process for us because for the first time, we’re sort of like putting out the record and then rehearsing. Like we haven't had a proper rehearsal yet, and usually it’s all happening at once. But right now it’s the album first and then we rehearse for the tour. What am I gonna remember? I don’t know! What does it mean that I’m not sure?

Braeden: I think we will probably remember more from what happened a few months ago and what will happen in the next couple of months. But right now? Right now I’m just remembering sitting on the beach with the sun shining, there's no storm, everything is just kind of in limbo. Like a lot just happened, a lot will happen, and now we have a little bit of time to think. If you ask us in a couple of weeks, I’m sure the weather will be changing. 

Dylan: I think we are letting the album find itself a little bit, we are letting the fans find the album. We made a very conscious decision to not tour until the album had been out for a couple of months, which we have never done before. Letting people familiarise themselves with it and know it just as well as we do, hopefully that helps enhance the tour to beyond what it's ever been before. I also feel like we are just approaching the tip of the iceberg of where we can still take this band. There is so much more to be experienced, more exposure and I’m hoping that with this album more people hear this album. We just feel better than ever.

Model, the brand new album from Wallows is out now! Dive in below:


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