Last weekend I had the time of my life, celebrating my birthday at The Wheeler Brothers‘ album release show in D.C. at The Hamilton. The Wheeler Brothers (a band I previously saw back in December at the same venue) are currently touring the country, for the release of their new album titled, Gold Boots Glitter, which is officially released April 2.
Upon listening to The Wheeler Brothers’ second album, I hear a strong resemblance in sound to a number of bands, which to make clear, is in no way a bad thing. But it does give you a sense of what you might come to expect before giving the album a listen.
“My Time” starts the album off on a cheery note, with bright guitar strumming and a glimmer of the slide guitar. This song reminds me much of the earlier, “Portraits,” only sunnier.
Next up is “Straight and Steady,” a song that explores a sharp, staccato (as us music folk like to say) take on vocals. I’m not sure I have yet bought into the too-cute “doo doo la doo’s” and “uh oh uh oh woah’s” but this is another good example of why pieces of this album are reminiscent of Vampire Weekend or even The Cat Empire.
“Heather” is the third track. It takes a longer introduction to get you into this piece. I kind of hate to make this comparison, but there are lines such as the one at the 2:37 mark, “No one needs to try. / Everyone is just happy to be hitching a ride ” where the melody seems too similar to Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar We’re Going Down.” (Sorry, I had to.)
“Cigarette Smoke” comes at you next, with some entertaining talking to start the track off with, much like something you’d hear on The Beatles’, “Let It Be.” Actually, as much as I love the rock solid beat this track has, it seems so much like a mix of The Beatles’, “Get Back” and a tad bit of OkGo’s, “No Sign Of Life.”
I was very pleased that “Sleep When I’m Dead,” a song I’ve associated with their older music (only because I’ve heard it much before I even heard anything of their new album) has found a place on Gold Boot Glitter. This tune might be the most country, “honky tonk” you will get on the album.
Next up is a potential new favorite with, “You Got A Lot Of Love” with a beautiful Hawaiian sounding, rich guitar riff that thankfully repeats through the piece. This song can truly be described as lovely and even incorporates an orchestral string section. One of the best parts of this piece is the deep percussion of the bongos, which sounds so much like Uncle Lucius’ “Set Ourselves Free.” This one really takes you to paradise.
“Struggle With It All You Like” has some of the most memorable lyrics on the album with lines like, ”Ain’t nothing wrong growing up in the suburbs. / Don’t let nobody tell you otherwise.” Some of the guitar lines also reminds me of something I would have listened to in the 1990′s (-that is not necessarily a bad thing!). This song stretches the band far from its Austin, country rock roots, lending a slightly more urban tone.
The tune, “Under A Bridge” sounds much like another piece either OkGo or Weezer might turn out. It has also got some “la da da’s” which brighten up an otherwise more “punkish” tune. And like what I’m calling it’s more lighthearted cousin, “Straight and Steady,” also shares in some of the “oh oh oh’s”. These two songs, might sound a little similar.
As I’ve previously stated, “I’ve Been Around” definitely resembles a Jack Johnson song. Although I definitely prefer this a capella version, it’s important to note that the studio version nicely integrates an organ part which adds great character and depth to the piece.
The sweet tenor vocals and chill guitar lines on the next track, “Yukon” sound similar to something Vampire Weekend or Cake might produce. This piece sounds very cute with the highlight role of the glockenspiel as well. To note, my Favorite Lyric Award goes to the line, “Drunk sleep is not real sleep” because it’s so true.
The piano and guitar parts on “Gold Boots Glitter” sounds like it could be taken right out of a Harry Nilsson tune. My brother and I also noted that this song could potentially make a successful mash-up with U2′s, “The Sweetest Thing.”
And finally on “Outro,” the playful ending to the album resembles something you might hear from The Beatles, a la, “Her Majesty” from Abbey Road.
The Wheeler Brothers’ new album is overall ultra-catchy and a fun listen and good time. Unlike their last album, Portraits, which had a nice country flavor, Gold Boots Glitter takes the band out of the country, and brings them rockin’ into the… suburbs. (Note: Ben Folds is not the only one who can do it.)