Lee’s Listening Stack – The Wheeler Brothers – ‘Portrait’
The Wheeler Brothers
It’s rare to find an introductory album that creates such an immediate impression. After all, most rookie outfits take at least two or three outings before they fully come into their own. Yet the Wheeler Brothers’ confidence is clearly a given, and Portraits provides proof that they’re ready to ascend into the big leagues on only a moment’s notice. Their songs undergo deft transitions in texture and tone, from a quiet lilt to an assertive stomp, but the changes in dynamic only add to the intrigue. Like other brother acts, Nolan, Tyler and Patrick Wheeler have an intrinsic bond that’s obviously instinctive, and with their knack for crafting exuberant melodies, this Austin-based outfit proves they can rock relentlessly without negating any subtler nuances.
The brothers’ craft is evident straight away on the opening entry, “Long, Hard Road,” a tangled, triumphant set up that boasts a whooping whistle to herald this effusive introduction. The rest of the set follows suit, and songs such as “Mississippi,” “Jersey” and “Call Me to the Morning” boast a sound that’s easy on the ears, the didactic rhythms and wailing refrains notwithstanding. It all contributes to some instant appeal, and fortunately the Wheelers’ penchant for twists and turns doesn’t dislodge that essential accessibility. However, they also defy categorization and any presumption of folk, rock or Americana quickly becomes somewhat irrelevant. Portraits offers a singular sound and it’s all the more impressive for it. – Lee Zimmerman
Lee Zimmerman is a contributor to a variety of publications, including Blurt, M Music & Musicians, New Times, Goldmine and Amplifier
This review appears courtesy of Amplifier, 50,000 Watts of Non-Stop Indie Rock http://amplifiermagazine.blogspot.com/