The Wallflowers "Glad All Over"
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, say The Wallflowers. Following the release of Rebel Sweetheart in 2005, and after nearly two decades of recording and performing, the band decided to take a break. For Jakob Dylan it was a long awaited chance to do something separate from Wallflowers. As the songwriter for the group his time was consumed by his Wallflower career. Other members with more free time exercised the opportunity to work on other projects. During the 7 year hiatus Dylan released two solo Americana leaning albums and worked with a variety of artists, but it seems his heart is still with his original band.
Glad All Over reunites Dylan with keyboardist Rami Jaffee, and bassist Greg Richling. Joining them are new new members drummer Jack Irons, founding drummer of Red Hot Chili Peppers, and guitarist Stuart Keys. The band headed to Nashville to record with the express purpose of recording live to tape. It is also the first time the band has written music as a group, taking the burden off of Dylan. The album is a raucous affair with high energy vocals, revitalized playing, and absolutely no ballads. The opening track is indicative of the pace. “Hospital For Sinners” rides on fast paced guitar, organ, and drums that break for nothing. These songs are muscular in a Springsteen-esqe fashion, built on a solid rock and roll foundation and with lots of intellectualizing lyrics. Dylan is a smart, loquacious lyricist. Although he’s stepped away from the folk tempo of his solo releases his lyrics emit the essence of a balladeer.
Although this is a rock record it is spiced with elements of other genres. “It’s a Dream” sounds like a souped-up Cohen song with dance hall piano. Mick Jones appears on two reggae tinged tracks including “Reboot the Mission” which sounds like a lost Clash track. Jones isn't the only reason this song might sound so much like the Clash, as Dylan points out in the lyrics, "welcome Jack, the new drummer/he jammed with the Mighty Joe Strummer." “Misfits and Lovers” also features that Clash sound although the lyrics are clearly Dylan’s language.
Glad All Over isn’t a re-invention of The Wallflowers. If anything it is an affirmation of the band’s original sound with a few added dimensions. It’s nice to have them back.
Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Mix Host)