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The Wheel

The Wheel

Review by Gary Hill

Not to be confused with the German doom band Wheel, this is the musical project of Portland, Oregon musician Avram Brown. This music really defies easy categorization. On the one hand, there is plenty of roots music and Americana in the mix a lot of the time. We get alternative rock here, too. Yet, psychedelia also shows up. Overall, I consider the most frequent thing to be art music, leaning heavily on a proggy angle at times. For that reason I've put this under progressive rock. What this is overall, though, is creative, unique and entertaining.

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Track by Track Review
Wintered Wanderlust
Atmospherics, tuned percussion and more merge in an arrangement that has dreamy world music along with real artsy things at play. This is decidedly trippy stuff. Violin gets pretty crazed.
Clearing Ground
Acoustic guitar brings this into being. I'm reminded of early Pink Floyd in a lot of ways as the arrangement fills out. The vocals have more of an alternative vibe, but this is decidedly proggy in a modern way. Yet, the alternative rock things are also at play.
Crashing Down

This is intricate and classy as it starts. It works out to more of a mainstream rocking sound as it continues. This is a solid tune loaded with Americana and alternative rock.

Coyote Mask
Art rock, space rock and other elements are added to the mix on this number. Still, it's a melodic folk rock based tune at its core. There are some definite country leanings at times.
Love & Truth
I dig the melodic, almost proggy angles to this cut. It's another folky sort of Americana piece with hints of dream pop and more in the mix. This gets into some Beatlesesque territory at times. The instrumental section later takes us into some very proggy territory along with bringing some Beatles-like psychedelia.
River Is Up
Americana is a big part of this track. Yet there are still dreamy elements here. The song includes female vocals courtesy of guest singer Haley Johnsen taking part in a duet.
Speak Like Droning
While not a big change, this is a classy slab of alternative rock with both roots music and artsy elements at play.
Can't Find You
Another with some definite proggy things at play, this has a lot of trippiness built into it.
Almuerzo Con Carney
This has jazz and Rock In Opposition grouped together in a driving, building instrumental jam that is trippy and so cool. I'm reminded of Frank Zappa in some ways.
Northern Lights
Piano, violin and vocals make up the first section of this track. It gets some percussion and other intensity added later. This is another decidedly proggy piece of music.

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