Sound — 7
Singer-songwriter Jakob Dylan is widely known as the offspring of Bob Dylan, but his music sounds more like the spawn of Bruce Springsteen. As the frontman of the alternative rock outfit, The Wallflowers, Dylan garnered recognition as a folk-pop songwriter with acoustic rock leanings. Not much about Dylan's delivery has changed over the course of time as shown by his latest solo effort Seeing Things, but his use of rootsy Americana-folk shading in the instrumentation give the songs a more gritty complexion relatable to blue-collar rock icons like Springsteen and Buddy Guy. Fans of The Wallflowers will miss the density of the band's acoustic rock blends, but on his own, Dylan offers more sparse pieces oftentimes simply presenting a languid tempo in the acoustic guitar and vocals. The tracks are streamlined keeping the vibrations in the acoustic vessels thin, and focusing on the embellishments in Dylan's vocal inflections and the guitar chords frailty and wispy movements. Produced by Rick Rubin (Johnny Cash, The Dixie Chicks), Seeing Things is a collection of thought-provoking tunes wandering lucidly along sobering acoustic arcs like in Valley Of The Low Sun. Dylan sings with a perception that shows awareness of his surroundings and living in the moment. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is too far away to think about, only the present really matters and Dylan makes that clear in the country-folk stitches of All Day And All Night. These are songs designed to penetrate the pores of the listener's mind and look deep into the eyes of humankind. The misty roots rock modulations in Will It Grow and War Is Kind relate to the chores of daily life, and songs like On Up The Mountain and This End Of The Telescope hold onto clovers of spirituality to assist daily life is becoming less burdensome.
Lyrics — 8
Jakob Dylan makes references to the Devil in quite a few places and relates daily life to a continual struggle between the forces of good and evil. His song Evil Is Alive And Well delivers this sentiment, It doesn't always have a shape / Almost never does it have a name / It maybe has a pitchfork / Maybe has a tail / But evil is alive and well / It might walk upright from out of the inferno / Maybe coming on horseback through deep snow / It's ragged and fat, hungry as Hell / Evil is alive and well. Many of the lyrics conjure up visuals for the listener, which assist in making the songs seem like they come from real life images and sentiments.
Overall Impression — 7
Though most fans may correlate the music of The Wallflowers with Jakob Dylan, his latest solo effort Seeing Things is far off from the OAR-like middle-of-the-road rock and more like Springsteen's folk-pop. The album allows the listener to sit back and take in what is being said in the songs making the music smooth and easy-going, which creates a soothing atmosphere. Dylan confronts demons and sensations of spirituality in these songs making it a self-help type of album. Seeing Things gives Jakob Dylan the opportunity to step into his own identity and inspires that in others.