In the often overwhelming realm of contemporary indie music, it's rare to find a standout that crosses genres, making it accessible to listeners from all walks of life. THE WHEEL, steered by the prodigious Avram Brown, is one such artist, with the crowning album “The Wheel” shining as a beacon of this rare artistic mastery. This record is not just a collection of songs; it's a rich, auditory tapestry, showcasing Brown’s profound musical artistry.
The voyage commences with “Winter Wanderlust,” a piece that conjures a contemplative spirit through its ethnic percussion and bell sounds. This opening act blends the grandeur of Muse-like chord progressions with a stirring string ensemble, guiding listeners into a realm of introspective wonder.
“Clearing Ground” emerges next, painting an auditory landscape where a relaxed acoustic guitar melds with Asian-inspired bells, creating a backdrop for a piano melody infused with a psychedelic Beatles flair. Brown’s vocals, both effortless and captivating, weave a texture that bridges folk and indie elements with an air of sophistication.
“Crashing Down” continues the journey with its infectious rhythm, inviting listeners to dance along to the guitar arpeggios that play against a chorus encapsulating the joy and sorrow of fleeting moments.
With “Coyote Mask,” the album takes a reflective turn. The song, evoking a desert voyage, features Beach Boys-style vocal harmonies that create an emotional depth, enriching the song with layers of complex emotions. Here, the echoes of the Eagles give the song an enduring charm.
In “Love & Truth,” the pace softens, offering a ballad that resonates deeply with its titular themes. The acoustic groove and catchy hooks make it a meditative piece, perfect for moments of quiet reflection.
Among the album's many highlights is “River Is Up (featuring Haley Johnsen)”. Johnsen’s voice harmoniously intertwines with Brown’s, flowing over the e-bow infused slide guitar, creating a musical river that glows with auditory brilliance.
The album culminates with “Northern Lights,” an awe-inspiring composition that captures the essence of the celestial spectacle. Beginning with a piano pattern reminiscent of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” it builds to a crescendo, mirroring the intensifying glow of the auroras, and concludes with a gently fading piano note, echoing the ephemeral beauty of the Northern Lights.
With “Coyote Mask,” the album takes a reflective turn. The song, evoking a desert voyage, features Beach Boys-style vocal harmonies that create an emotional depth, enriching the song with layers of complex emotions.
“The Wheel”, a collaborative effort with talents like Raymond Richards, Kyleen King, and the late Ralph Carney, transcends mere musical expression; it’s a cinematic experience. Each song stands proudly on its own, yet together, they weave a narrative that touches the soul.
Avram Brown, with his rich musical heritage and a journey marked by transformative experiences, has crafted a work that demands to be experienced in its entirety. “The Wheel” is more than an album; it’s a voyage through the depths of human emotion, a harmonious blend of folk roots and psychedelic landscapes. It invites listeners to immerse themselves in a musical odyssey that resonates with its lyrical beauty and intricate soundscapes, long after the final note has gently faded into silence.