The Wheelers prove that “DIY” doesn’t have to sound bad. Their recent self-titled album The Wheelers was recorded and produced in a basement and it sounds excellent. The quality sounds very professional and like something you would hear on the radio. They mix a variety of genres like funk, rock and pop. Their music is good, fun, catchy but awfully predictable at times. They rely on typical structures such as verse, chorus verse and guitar solos but never really venture into anything you would consider experimental. The music often has a southern feel to it and could see a band like this opening up for a band like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the audience being mighty happy about it. You hear influences of Lynyrd Skynyrd in songs like “The Crow” which mimics Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song “Free Bird” - I'm talking about the ending where the song speeds up and you get some pretty mean guitar solos. Ten songs deep, The Wheelers debut album is easy and pleasant enough to listen to, if not completely engaging. The songs are good, the songwriting is solid but it just feels like something that has been done before. For instance, the vocals are fine and the songs are sung with conviction but there doesn't seem to be a very recognizable quality about the album that I might remember.
The album opens with a nice tune “Another Day” which is an upbeat number. I was digging the lead guitar which had an extra coat of reverb. The song blurs the line between a country and something you might hear from a jam band. Either way the song feels commercial and they may want to get this one on the airwaves. My personal favorite was “Breeze” which kind of felt like a breeze. The clean guitars strum an infectious melody that lets the banjo-picking float above. I'm not crazy for guitar solos but I have to say the guitarist’s Santana-inspired style of lead was pretty cool. I appreciated the vocal harmonies and anthemic quality of “1904.” On top of being one of the songs that I think would be pretty awesome to see live I thought they were getting some pretty cool sounds on of their instruments. Not to mention that had some cool panning effects that I was enjoying.
There is no doubt that The Wheelers debut album will be enjoyed by space hippies. The Wheelers will undoubtedly be able to catch their attention and have them doing their little hippie dance in no time. While this album doesn't reinvent the wheel it does have some impressive songs that a lot of people will enjoy,
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