Chief Wallflower Jakob Dylan rarely discusses his legendary father, Bob, in interviews. One can't blame his desire to separate his career from Dad's, but it's hard to ignore a familial trait when it comes to the type of music that both create. Both share a fondness for well-crafted songs that have an organic feel to them, and this approach makes the Wallflowers' latest effort, Breach, an easy listen, even as it chronicles the insecurities of its lead singer and songwriter. In fact, you can hear the influences of the Eagles, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and Sheryl Crow in the Wallflowers' music.
Like T-Bone Burnett before him, co-producer Michael Penn brings a sharp edge to the arrangements and gets economic performances out of Dylan, keyboardist Rami Jaffe, bassist Greg Richling, and guitarist Michael Ward. The Wallflowers' 1992 debut lacked such focus and contained only small kernels of what would blossom on its breakthrough release, 1996's multiplatinum, Burnett-produced Bringing Down the Horse. Much of Breach sounds as if it were culled from the same sessions that spawned Bringing Down. In the oddly upbeat "Letters From the Wasteland," Dylan writes a literary song about a bitter breakup, and he takes a confessional tone on much of the other material here. He deals with the difficulty of following in his father's footsteps in "Hand Me Down" and uses acoustic instrumentation effectively on "Up From Under." With such a solid follow-up to Bringing Down the Horse, Dylan can't be easily dismissed as a second-rate version of his dad.
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