Wheel Works, The - The Wheel Works

Year of Release: 2003
Label: India Records
Catalog Number: IR71001
Format: CD
Total Time: 56:54:00

I don't know much about Texas. In fact, if I were to apply numerical values to everything I do know about the Lone Star State and add it all up, the sum wouldn't be too impressive. But I've recently found out that, apparently, there's a "scene" in Austin, Texas. And, apparently, it's a progressive rock "scene" that most prog-fans don't know much about - hey, that's my crowd. Well, based on what I've heard, I think I'll pay the Austin scene more attention, thanks to a spacey, quasi-psychedelic unit called the Wheel Works.

The Wheel Works are a quintet that specializes in spacey melodic rock, not unlike early Moody Blues or present day Porcupine Tree. In fact, there are moments on The Wheel Works that sound so much like the Porky Tree that it gives me fits of déjà vu. But that's just part of it; mixed into the Wheel Works' melodic, sometimes folky sound are bits of the Moodies, the Beatles, the Flower Kings, a smidgen of Floyd, a touch of Eastern influence, and a liberal dose of early 90's pop-rock a la the Ocean Blue and the Cure. Acoustic guitars and piano provide the melodic basis for the songs, which are embellished with violin, echoing Rhodes, synthesizers, electric guitars, and heady sound treatments to produce a dizzying musical tapestry. The production, handled by the Wheel Works themselves, is almost spectacular, and endows breathtaking depth to the music that washes over the listener in waves, only to be spelled by a sweeping breeze or blown away by a driving wind. Add in Steven Higginbotham's engaging tenor voice and the experience becomes that much more hypnotic.

To these ears, the Wheel Works are a damned good band and The Wheel Works is a damned good debut. If you're looking for some quality space to free your mind in, this is the place to find it.

[The Wheel Works dissolved, although their music available as free downloads; Higginbotham resurrected the band, sort of, as The Wheel Workers (www.thewheelworkers.com) -ed.]

Mystic Rust (10:24) / Tracing Lines (5:20) / Dangerously High (4:29) / Personal Strangers (5:02) / Descender (4:25) / Acceleration (5:18) / Stella Link (2:42) / Past To Present (4:21) / 3.3 (5:20) / Infinite Experiment (5:03) / Simple (4:30)

Steven Higginbotham - vocals, keyboards, violin
Chad Fontenot - guitars
Chris Maness - background vocals, guitars
Nathan Maness - drums
Guiseppe Ponti - bass

Additional musicians:

Evan Kolvoord - harmonica (11)
Christina Martin - vocals (11)

The Wheel Works (2003)
How To Fly A Washing Machine (2004)

Genre: Rock

Origin US

Added: December 24th 2003
Reviewer: David Cisco
Artist website: www.wheelworkstheband.org
Hits: 429
Language: english


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