Unlike the Secret Machines, the Wallflowers resist the temptation to tackle a Bob Dylan song on their new disc -- but they'll likely do so sooner rather than later. Playing that card may be the only way Jakob Dylan, Zimmy's son, will be able to attract attention in the future, especially if his band issues many more albums like this one.
Rebel, Sweetheart isn't a lousy endeavor, or an unlistenable one. Steady playing, reliable production and pleasant melodies prevail. Trouble is, tracks such as "Days of Wonder" and "Here He Comes (Confessions of a Drunken Marionette)" dig too deeply into heartland-rock styles that have been strip-mined for decades, and there just aren't that many rich veins left. An infusion of personality might have helped, but after thirteen years as a recording artist, no-longer-so-young Jakob remains an imitator, not an innovator. His voice suggests his pop's with every rough edge removed, and the lyrics of ditties such as "God Says Nothing Back" hint at a profundity they never quite achieve.
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Rebellious this material ain't. Thank goodness J.D. has daddy's catalogue to fall back on.