Review of Twisted Wheel's second album, 'Do It Again'.


'Do It Again' is Twisted Wheel's second album.  It's been almost four years since the band first signed to Columbia and over three since the release of their debut.  In today's climate, that's quite a while to still be going in the industry, still selling out gigs, touring and able to produce new music. 

It's obvious from the get-go and 'Poppi Love', breaking free of the cumbersome dated machinery of music marketing was in favour of better music. I'm three songs deep in and I can recognise lead singer Jonny Brown's lacerating vocals but the scope and the  confident instrumentation is new.  Twisted Wheel's eponymous debut album was marketed as yet another anoraked Manc 'ladrock' band, a label which damaged the band in more ways than one.  Jonny's fury at loss of creative control clashed with the more compliant members leading to the band's implosion in 2010.  The 'new' band (Eoghan Clifford - Johnny Squire's stepson -, Stephen Evans and Jonny) emerge as a clearer, more musically intelligent and explosive unit.  Brown's voice and lyrics can finally be heard on the self-financed album produced by Tim Hampton at Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire.

 From upbeat odes to the perilous call of 'Poppi Love', simple sweet rocking melodies of 'Honeygirl' and the infectious 'Ride' the trademark stark emotional architecture is finally fleshed out with thumping toms, guitars which are voices, articulating sounds (instead of clichés), exploring a song in a way rock surely doesn't do anymore.  Evans and Brown's guitar work is more artistry than technique here as it becomes impossible to pick out if it's one or two. Brown's voice, a snarl between Strummer and Bowie, fits the tom-driven beast of 'UK Blues' , a call to riot and a song penned two years ago, painfully prescient.  'Postman' stomps and smashes its way through the small-minded fascism of parochial authority before exploding into something far more beautiful and harmonious. Indeed, this is what Twisted Wheel seems best at: building cathedrals of sound and structure which they ecstatically inhabit -then destroy. Yet the  lighter-waving thoughtful ballads are still there, packing  observational poetry and wit with 'Double Yellow Lines' a step further than 'Strife'..

 Twisted Wheel seems itself to be one lean machine with nothing superfluous or flapping around 'just to be there' yet the texture is of a production rather than some retro-acoustic sound.  This is sound I'm experiencing. 'Bored' is a bouncy bang of a song which surprises with its irrepressible swooping chorus while 'Merry-go-round' creates the surreal living metaphor of pleasuredom at its worst.  The staccato guitars and bare, sky-scraping chasms of feeling  resonate with a recognisable Britain in all its pre-apocalyptic ache.

 But it's the title track for me which nails it .  This is Twisted Wheel flat out, pedal to the floor, 110mph in today's 30 zone, double-parked congested town centre, screaming its magnificence and unattainable power amidst genres and marketing expectations.  It's the constant roaring instrumentals. Gasping as it hurtles  from one extreme to the next, you're left whiplashed worse than after the Pepsi Max, dribbling your desire: 'Do it Again'!

 The pleasure of this album is from the obvious exaltation in resurrecting a machine.  The same way the T-Birds felt with their Greased Lightning, we witness Twisted Wheel, feral as ever but this time, cleverer.   It is pure joy,  a raw rush of melody and sound that just gets inside you.  Twisted Wheel are the band having the most fun building the sepulchre to this resurrection of sound before smashing it up - until  the sound becomes the sepulchre itself.

 That's why they can 'Do It Again'.