Los Angeles punk crew hit a sweet spot between hedonism and poignancy on a multi-layered second album
Album review: Twisted Wheel
Filtered through The Jam, The Courteeners and The Enemy, their laboratory-perfect ladrock saw them snapped up by a major label at In The City 2007 and handed a wedge of Oasis comparisons to get them underway. They even shared a producer – in the shape of Dave Sardy, who midwifed ‘Don’t Believe The Truth’ and ‘Dig Out Your Soul’. Pity that, after flying all the way to LA to work with him, someone forgot to pack the effects pedals.
Their debut suffers heavily from a lack of variety. The guitars are all recorded meat’n’tatties clean, there’s barely a noticeable riff present, and it’s hard
to figure out what Sardy did before cashing his cheque, short of pressing ‘Record’ and ‘Don’t Record’. Even at
the level of amoeba-basic punk, at least the Pistols had the temerity to turn up the distortion. Arctic Monkeys’ debut didn’t hang around long enough to sound expansive, but they had protractor-angled riffs to burn. This
is just three-chord flailing, attached to a uniquely hackneyed line of imagery. ‘Strife’’s attempt to essay Manc pondlife offers us the key: “Sheila, she’s a dealer/Dropped off in a blue three-wheeler”.
Uh, great, but it’s 2009. When did you last actually see a Reliant Robin on Britain’s roads? Was it around about Christmas time? Was it on an old episode of Only Fools And Horses, perchance? They’re pilfering a stock
of clichés that is at least 20 years out of date. ‘Bouncing Bomb’ is ‘That’s Entertainment’ if you mistook Weller’s sharply sculpted observations on the tyranny of suburbia for a simple list of blithe banalities.
‘We Are Us’ is the most genuinely Oasis-like cut here and it offers such bon mots as “You’re you, you do what
you do”, and its corollary: “I’m me, who else could I be?”. We’re stumped: is it a) John Selwyn Gummer? Or b)
Jonny Brown, 21-year-old lead singer of the band who are destined to usurp Liam Fray’s position as ladrock’s whipping boy? Twisted Wheel is an explosion of underwhelmingness, a kaleidoscope of grey, a fiesta of sag.
Twisted Wheel NME Artist Page
Twisted Wheel MySpace
10 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week (2/9/2015)
Former Disney star enlists The Flaming Lips and Ariel Pink on a thrillingly weird surprise album
Abel Tesfaye's dark, twisted album is at odds with the glossy pop world he's been thrust into
The Cavan teenagers attack album two with abandon, largely at the expense of quality