Between Rock and an Indie Place: “She’s Gonna Leave You” by The Walters

If you have spent any of the last three years paying attention to the Chicago indie rock scene, then you’ve heard of The Walters. The band presents a unique spin on oldies music that sounds tremendously fresh among the mainstream alternative rock that you might hear on the radio today.

Their witty Bandcamp bio sums them up perfectly: just “5 hunks from Chicago.” Between 2014 and now, The Walters have celebrated the overwhelmingly positive reception of their only two LPs, Songs for Dads and Young Men. Earlier this year, they released their first ever stand-alone single, “She’s Gonna Leave You.” The song fares well among the band’s other most awesome jams, and it possesses that signature Walters flair that fans like me know and love. Although, I was not able to soak in the excitement of the release of a new Walters song for long before the band tweeted that they “have some unfortunate news to deliver.”

Last month — not long after “She’s Gonna Leave You” came out — this beloved Chicago indie rock band posted on all of their social media pages, “it saddens us to make this announcement, but the magic and inspiration that once drove us to collaborate as a group has left, and we feel it would be dishonest to continue forward with dynamic that doesn’t feel genuine.” Confusion. Shock. Heartbreak. These are a few of the emotions that I felt after reading this. It was like I was transported to high school and I was going through a bad breakup all over again.

However, I’m sure I can speak on behalf of all Walters’ fans when I say I completely understand why they had to split and *sniff* know that it is for the best *sniff sniff.* On the bright side, they also announced later on in that tweet, “all of us have new music on the way, and we plan on posting updates on that process through The Walters social media pages.” At least it’s not all bad news I suppose! Maybe there is going to be some really great solo stuff to come out of this breakup. I just have to keep telling myself to look at the glass half-full, so I don’t go sit in a corner and cry while listening to their music on repeat.

In retrospect, I really should not have been that surprised at their announcement given the super explicitly depressing tone in the lyrics to “She’s Gonna Leave You.” Yes, some of their best songs focus on a similar Taylor-Swift-like approach to breakups, but this one just felt a little bit darker than the rest of their music. Take, for example, the opening lines of the song,

“Hey, there’s a battle raging on,
and you fight all day,
and try to figure it out.”

In the other Walters’ breakup songs, it at least feels like there is some sort of resolution in the situation that Luke Olson, the lead singer, is describing. This, on the other hand, is purely pessimistic and presents us with a darker mood that we’re not used to hearing from The Walters.

Personally, I have seen The Walters play live at various venues across the city more times than I can keep track of. As heartbroken as I am at the announcement of their split, I cannot express enough how ridiculously entertained I have been with the music that they played for their brief three-year existence.

They have put on an absolutely amazing performance every time I have seen them that usually includes Luke taking his shirt off and sensually gyrating on stage then continuing to yell at Walter, the guitarist who inspired the name of the band, until he also takes his shirt off. That might sound weird, but, I promise you, others who have seen them live can attest to hilarious they are with their stage antics. I can only hope that the members of The Walters figure out whatever rough patch they’re going through so they can continue to make awesome indie rock together.

— Noah Slowik, Fiction Editor and Music Blogger

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