I’ve been whipping out my 7-inches — HEY … don’t go there … — like crazy lately because I’ve been gettin’ a lotta mail in the mails lately, and mails is good baby; sooo good, baby, it’s … oh, just so good.
Wheels On Fire … wow, believe or not there are a lot of things working against me on this one; I go into this review not thinking I’m going to like what I hear. When I hear it, I’m relieved, as this is one of the rock bands with blues overtones that doesn’t ruin its entire approach digging too deep into the boozy 12-bar end of things.
Hearing that Wheels On Fire were on Fat Possum is an interesting coincidence because, on the same day, I got a T Rex promo from Fat Possum-awesome that absolutely SHREDS. Wheels On Fire don’t shred, but they aren’t that kind of band — I’m still trying to figure that equation out, to place them somewhere in the indie-rock galaxy without doing them a disservice.
There are times where their approach is super-light and laid-back, yet still fast and kinda hard-rippin’/riffin’. Then you have the punk-glam, Makers-esque, swag-stealing swagger of “Black Wave,” a K Records-ready jaunt that jaws at the listener like MC5 and soothes with “oooh”-”awwww”s that aren’t even legal for a man to sing in many states. I especially like the irony-free (right?) mentions of “rock ‘n’ roll” and the feeling that this singer sounds a little like John “asshole” Fogerty, DOES HE NOT?
“Broken Up” is a much different lemonade glaze, stickin’ to it Superchunk-style — not a bad thing, mostly — while pushing the guitars a tit-bit too close to my NECK and the drums, oh man, all cramped but I still hear ‘em (“hey guy, ya sound good!”) and that’s good enough.
“Cherry Bomb” makes a defiant, drunk entrance, sassing over to the nearest table to bum a smoke. Before you can get up the nerve to CRUNCH its arrogant nuts it’s talkin’ to your girlfriend. Shit, looks like he’s gon’ take her home! Yer effed, man …
I love the defiance and brazen arrogance of “Cherry,” and my love isn’t something I give away easily unless you got, you know, a bag full of tricks and a Home Depot gift card … If you told me, after hearing just these three tracks, that Wheels On Fire were on their way to a higher stake holding in the indie world, I wouldn’t be able to disagree on any grounds. The creativity I’ve found in a lot of the recent blues-rock — which is a genre I’ll again go out on a limb to say it’s spotty as all out-get — starting with Modey Lemon, continuing with Black Keys and moving into
After hearing “Love Away” I’m even more in the bag. Simple, swerving, single-serving mad-perving, “bang-bang” and Fin Fang Foom. Tell that monkey that works door at the bar that I just PLOWED his, you know, girl or something …
Keep the 7-inches raining down like heaven-manna, ok?