It’s kind of amazing that Jakob Dylan has had as successful a career as he has with his Wallflowers. He managed to go into the same business as his uber-famous dad, but in a less auspicious time for rock ‘n’ roll. His music in unabashedly a throwback, not so much to papa Bob but that of The Boss, Bruce Springsteen. Yet new Wallflowers record Exit Wounds does it all quite well.
Dylan manages to balance a wry attitude with actual heartfelt emotion, without leaning to heavily in either direction as to water down the other. The resign in pieces such as “Maybe Your Heart’s Not In It No More” and the sweet “Wrong End of the Spear” isn’t giving up, but accepting, and the evening feel of “Move the River” earns its slow accomplishment. Dylan also has his own way with words, like the title lines of “I Hear the Ocean (When I Wanna Hear Trains)” and “The Dive Bar In My Heart”. And there’s even space for a great boppin’ honky-tonk good time on “Who’s That Man Walking ‘Round My Garden” (which is good enough that one kind of wishes that there was more of this material on the record).
Decades removed from his own nineties break out (and years since becoming effectively Jakob Dylan’s own show), The Wallflowers aren’t the most original act out there, but what they do, they do well – and really not enough people are doing it, these days.