Coming home today from the cold weather, I had a pleasant surprise in my mailbox. Besides the usual junk mail, there was a little package from India Records containing a compilation (which I’ll be reviewing later) and a band that had been highly recommended to me called The Wheel Works. I stuck it in my computer and saw that the first track, “Mystic Rust,” was a total of 10 minutes, 24 seconds in length. This had me thinking one of two things: 1) This band was pretentious as hell and didn’t deserve it, or 2) they had every fucking right to make their opener a ten-minute epic with violins that could be kept on repeat a total of 5 times! If you guessed number 2, then you win a prize kiddies.
While listening to it, the singer (Steven Higginbotham, who also plays violin and keyboard) reminds me of a mix between Thom Yorke, Morrissey, and even a little Dave Gahan thrown in for good measure. The music, which is delivered flawlessly by guitarists Chad Fontenot and Chris Maness, drummer Nathan Maness, and bassist Giuseppe Ponti, has that feeling where it puts you in another world. If you close your eyes for a brief moment, you believe you’re seeing the outcome of some strange and otherworldly drama unfold before your eyes. And I tend to never get moved by music, which in and of itself is a high mark for any band.
It has the operatic rock quality of The Who or Pink Floyd with the sensibility to rock à la Radiohead. Another band that comes to mind while I listen is Cursive. Highest recommendation to the fullest for this CD my friends.
Listen to this CD straight through. There is no track that outdoes the other. And when it’s finished, you’re prone to play it again and again. I know I’m listening to it again as I write this review. Go to their website and give them some love. They deserve fame and fortune, and not many bands out there do. I give it 10 violins out of 10. Simple as that.
Written by James McCormick.