I have to admit to some apprehension when I put on Wheeler Street’s first EP. The cover sees them taking a choreographed jump into the air in front of a big stack of speakers in a way that brings Busted to mind. The website has passport-style photos of them looking "zanny". I guess it makes a change from people on hill-sides looking moody but it didn’t bode well.
I’m pleased to report that all doubts were cast aside when the music started. That is, after all, what it’s all about. The arrangements are imaginative, lively and progressive and there’s a rare vigour and conviction to the performance.
Although they have been likened to a young Fairport Convention, based on what I can hear on this EP is seems to be down to the song Sir Eglamore. Elsewhere I am more reminded of Jethro Tull and there’s even a hint of later-day Skyclad here and there. Gently distorted guitars take a supporting role rather than dominating and add a pleasing grit to the sound.
The first three tracks blaze past faultlessly. The high quality dips slightly in the last track which sees Sophy Blundell take over lead vocals in a more punkish style but the overall quality is so high I still left wanting more.
Happily, they are currently in the studio with Jim Moray producing so I hope they can sustain their energy over their full length debut. It’s such a cliché to label bands as "the one to watch" but I certainly will be. I suggest ignore the staged photos and check out the music.Christopher Friedenthal
Released on 5 May 2008 by Stump Nugget.
1. Worst Woman
2. Morrison’s Set
3. Sir Eglamore