Release Date: Oct 9, 2012
Record label: Columbia
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
"Eyes on the prize/Reboot the mission," goes the first Wallflowers single in seven years. Reboot – not reinvent. Jakob Dylan's group has picked up where it left off: with sharp roots-rock songs full of sturdy hooks, deadpan jokes and pathos that sneaks up on you. The band charges through the boogie blues of "Hospital for Sinners," and brings an antic oompah thump to "It's a Dream." "Reboot the Mission" is a hommage to Sandinista!-era Clash, with guest help from Mick Jones and lyrics that tip a fedora to the Clash's late leader while introducing the Wallflowers' latest lineup: "Welcome Jack, the new drummer/He jammed with the mighty Joe Strummer." Listen to Glad All Over: .
The Wallflowers quietly entered an extended hiatus after the 2005 release of Rebel, Sweetheart, spending the next seven years flitting between tours and inactivity. During the downtime, Jakob Dylan pursued a solo career, generating respectable enough results, but eventually the band -- complete with founding keyboardist Rami Jaffee, who had left during a supporting tour for a greatest-hits compilation -- regrouped in 2012 to record Glad All Over, a vivid, colorful album that has very little connection to the austere Women + Country, Dylan's last solo album. After stripping his music down to the bone, Dylan sounds giddy to flesh out the skeleton with the assistance of a sympathetic band, sometimes augmented by his hero Mick Jones.
Jakob Dylan’s band make an often-spirited but uneven return from a long hiatus, injecting their standard-issue roots-rock formula with a spiky and gratifyingly lively energy. (Perhaps Clash guitarist Mick Jones, who appears on the aptly titled single ”Reboot the Mission,” is their new power animal?) But whereas Jakob’s iconic pops, Bob, continues to surprise, as on his recent, stormy Tempest, the younger Dylan spends too much time on Glad All Over treading safe waters. B Best Tracks:Reboot the MissionMisfits and Lovers .
Just two or three years ago the Wallflowers seemed doomed as a creative endeavor. The band had been on a creative hiatus since parting with Interscope in 2006 and its lead singer, Jakob Dylan, had leaped into an acoustic solo career in the vein of his endlessly surprising and talented father, Bob Dylan. In 2009, the Wallflowers released the death knell of many bands: a greatest hits collection.
The WallflowersGlad All Over(Columbia)3.5 out of 5 stars “Eyes on the prize/reboot the mission/I lost my sight but not the vision” sings the Clash’s Mick Jones on the chorus of the Wallflowers’ debut single from the band’s first album in five years. But even though Dylan Jr. released two largely acoustic sets under his own name since, this continuation (let’s not label it a comeback) reunites the singer/songwriter with co-founder/keyboardist Rami Jaffee and long time bassist Greg Richling for another go-round of lyrically challenging, tightly produced and played roots rock and roll.
After enough time, almost all bands run their course. But about 30 seconds into “Reboot the Mission” — the lead single from Glad All Over — you realize that Jakob Dylan’s Wallflowers are nowhere near that point and may in fact only be scratching their surface. It’s a damn fine formula for announcing a return after a seven-year studio absence: Create your own Clash track (complete with shuffle backbeat), recruit Mick Jones to play and sing on it, and insert a band roll call in the lyrics (“Welcome Jack [Irons], the new drummer/ He jammed with the mighty Joe Strummer/ I see Rami, Greg, and Stuart/ I gotta say it, ‘Jay [Joyce, producer], we’ve had it coming.
If you’re looking for the “Hospital for Sinners,” Jakob Dylan has directions. “At the junction of right now and little too late,” the eternally-gruff-voiced frontman snarls over a gritty blues-rock strut. Sadly, though, that lyric’s also a pretty accurate description for the uneven Glad All Over, his band’s first studio album in seven years.