Jared Filer believes the spirit of grunge is still alive in Philly, thanks to Wallace
Wallace released their first-ever published work, an infectious grunge single titled “Sunny Monday,” this past March, and then followed suit with a second single augmented by a music video, titled “Keeping Composure,” in July. Finally, after months of support and momentum from the two singles and consistent gigs, they released their first full-length LP, the eponymously-named Wallace. For us listeners, it was worth the wait.
Wallace is the songwriting project of Wallace Gerdy, who acts as the frontwoman/guitarist extraordinaire. Wallace’s current incarnation also consists of Hannah Pugh on bass, and Adam Figurelle on drums, though some live performances include one of their many friends on second guitar. In a band setting, Wallace and Adam are no strangers to each other, with both being a part of alternative-rock outfit Mattress Food, where Wallace is the lead guitarist and Adam retains his position as a drummer. Hannah’s input on bass helps cement their already-present chemistry on the self-titled “Wallace.”
The album starts off with “Keeping Composure.” After a half-minute of Wallace plaintively singing over only an acoustic guitar, a crushing full-band enters to show listeners what is in store. The producer, John Sambrick of Thornwall Studios in Lancaster, PA, mixed and mastered the album with creamy, heavy, fuzz-saturated tones that would give Smashing Pumpkins’ “Siamese Dream” a run for its money. An unlikely horn section joins Wallace on the tracks “Flowers” and “Oh Well,” courtesy of Lancaster residents Big Fat Meanies. As is evident, Big Fat Meanies only help to drive the unadulterated energy of the album and fit in very well, avoiding any perception of being mere novelty.
Though rooted in some fuzz-punk grounding, tracks such as “Katy’s Song” and “Outro” boast thoughtful composition which might not be expected from an album with heavy alternative rock offerings. Do not mistake the album’s high energy for having a lack of introspective depth or musical wit, with the lyrics often shifting to personal depths. Themes of self-disappointment and social trepidation run hand-in-hand with lyrics documenting degrees of personal dissatisfaction. Wallace Gerdy is not afraid to showcase any level of brooding in her lyricism. Though one might think that the pensive nature of these lyrics would fit perfectly in a mopey indie-folk outfit, the lyrics mesh well with heavy guitar, bass, and drums for a timbre that makes Wallace unique. Wallace’s thunderous grunge-rock sounds and lyrical ruminations craft an unforgettable album that could easily be considered one of Pennsylvania D.I.Y’s best this year.
Favorite Tracks: Stumbling, Scum, Sweet Sixteen.