CD Review of Seeing Things by Jakob Dylan
Recommended if you like
The Wallflowers, Josh Rouse,
Tracy Chapman
Jakob Dylan: Seeing Things

Reviewed by Red Rocker


ollowing the Wallflowers’ fifth, and possibly final, release in 2005, the band began to fragment, and ultimately parted ways with Interscope Records. Rami Jaffee toured with Foo Fighters on their acoustic tour in 2006, and Fred Eltringham joined the Dixie Chicks briefly. While a public split never came, the Wallflowers were all but finished. They played a few dates last year, and while founding frontman Jakob Dylan has never officially put a fork in the old band, Jaffee is gone, and Stuart Mathis has been inserted as lead guitarist. Certainly lineup changes are nothing new to the Wallflowers, but with the release of Dylan’s first solo album, Seeing Things, speculation is that the band is (again) on hiatus, if not life support.

Some might think (or hope) a Dylan solo project would at last determine whether the youngest of four kids born to Sir Bob Dylan is actually the lead singer of a band, or a true solo artist like the old man. Well, it doesn’t take long into the 10-song, all acoustic set before a pining for something bigger, louder, and more band-y sets in. Rick Rubin produced the hushed book of lullabies at his home studio, although something this stripped and simple could’ve arguably been done anywhere with anyone engineering. Lead track “Evil Is Alive and Well” gives fair warning of the somber pace and bare-boned nature of Seeing Things. “Maybe has a pitchfork, maybe has a tail, but evil is alive and well,” Dylan asserts, while thumbing a lazy six-string for the only instrumental accompaniment on the track. At least “All Day and All Night” and “Will It Grow” bring an insignificant snare drum along for the ride -- hardly a rocking moment, mind you.

Jakob Dylan

As a songwriter, junior Dylan is crafty and capable, just as he was in carrying the Wallflowers for 15 years, though not near as focused or thought-provoking in his individual mission. A title like “War Is Kind” might evoke comparisons to Dad, but the song goes no further than anything else here in showcasing an extra inherited knack. It is most difficult to find Rubin’s stamp on this album. Even if you thought his work with the Dixie Chicks was a mismatch, it seems like a perfect marriage compared to this. In this iPod generation, an album like Seeing Things will come and go without garnering so much as a “must download” entry or two. And that’s unfortunate when you consider how wide open the door was left for Dylan these past couple years in the wake of a near-defunct Wallflowers band. Opportunity missed.

You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook for content updates. Also, sign up for our email list for weekly updates and check us out on Google+ as well.

Around the Web