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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Any Trouble - Wheels In Motion

Name: Any Trouble
Album: Wheels In Motion
Year: 1981
Style: Pub Rock / New Wave
Similar Bands: Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, Nick Lowe, Graham Parker
"One Word" Review: Moody Power Pub
Based Out Of: UK
Label: Stiff Records
Wheels In Motion - Cover & Record
Wheels In Motion - Back & Record
Wheels In Motion (1981)
  1. Trouble With Love 4:06
  2. Open Fire 3:38
  3. As Lovers Do 4:10
  4. Walking Chains 4:42
  5. Dimming of the Day 3:51/
  6. Another Heartache 2:33
  7. To Be A King 4:55
  8. Power Cut 4:10
  9. Eastern Promise 3:34
  10. The Sun Never Sets 5:00

Album Rating (1-10): 8.5

Members & Other Bands:
Clive Gregson - Vox, Guitar, Mandolin, Keys (3 Boxes, The Plainsong)
Chris Parks - Guitar, Vox (Doky Brothers, Big Heat)
Phil Barnes - Bass, Sax, Vox 
Mike Howlett - Producer, Sequencer
Martin Hughes - Drums, Percussion, Vox (Big Heat, Fire Next Time)
Mike Howlett - ARP Sequencer, Producer
Paul Owen - Backing Vocals
Martin Levan - Engineer, Trumpet
Mark Freegard - asst engineer
George Chambers - Asst Mixing Engineer
Grafica Industria - Artwork
Panny Charrington - Photography

Unknown-ness: I had never heard of this band, but I had heard of the well respected Still Label, so I wanted to hear the record. I got this in a Oxfam store in London. Looking at the cover and blurred imagery, I am assuming this is going to be some bleak, heavy shoe gazing music. It just looks sad and drab. Alas, UK pressing, Stiff Records and a 1981 date was too much to pass up.

Album Review: Apparently, these guys were supposed to be a new wave act for Stiff Records, but turned out to be more Pub Rock, akin to (and apparently, overtly compared to) Elvis Costello. The album ends in a very bleak place, especially compared to the energy on the other 8 tracks.

“Trouble With Love” opens the album with a upbeat rock number and deep Graham Parker like vocals. It blends nicely into an alternate melody bridge, and a very strongly structured chorus. The guitar is an steady alarm of chord strums. In the secondary bridge, it does sound a lot like an Elvis Costello style melody circa Imperial Bedroom. The sections of this song feel like they could repeat at infinitum. The song dances itself out with a fade.
“Open Fire” starts with a fading up, driving drum beat. Power Pop chords are added overtop, and the whole production paused while the vocals enter, dotted with percussion. The instruments are added back in for a nice build up to the chorus, which follows the momentum that we were first introduced to. Again, I’d compare this much closer to Graham Parker than Costello, although, they are not too far apart themselves. The chorus, again is repeated, and it lets itself out at the end.
“As Lovers Do” has a dark, yet jittery drum & bass beat as it begins. The melody rolls right along into a fun up and down rollercoaster ride of notes and vocal inflection. Again, the chorus is very upbeat, and fun, and the entire verse is just building up to it.
“Walking Chains” has a methodical pace to its guitars as it starts, sounding like it might be a slow Motown song. It progresses, but never builds out of the slow and subdued tone it starts with. The chorus has a nice upbeat chorus thanks to the bass line, and addition of backing chorus. The vocals offer an emotional exhale toward the end of the track, with one of the title repetitions.
“Dimming of the Day” starts as a slow piano ballad with sad, emotional vocals.  It feels a bit country-ish in the way the vocals rise, and the wavering in the note holds.

“Another Heartache” starts with a very jittery, bouncy bass line, and a driving vocal tempo. The chorus is solid  power pop hook. The melody is pretty fun to follow along with. But the chorus could use more of a punch.
“To Be A King” has 4 rising chord changes that rise up slowly. And the vocals in the verse are just like Billy Joel. The chorus is reminiscent of Parker, yet again, maybe Joe Jackson too. The organ keyboard in the back is also a nice, pub-rock touch.
“Power Cut” jumps right into the anthemic chorus. It then slows down, and adds in a keyboard effect that Dismemberment Plan has used recently. The verse is a steady builder, with a bold bridge, and it never seems to return to that first installment of excitement until it hits the 2 minute mark for that powerful section, and the song basically starts over.
“Eastern Promise” builds with a slow guitar chord strummed with rhythm. The song feels like a story song. It sets a moody, bleak landscape. Kind of reminds me of a Ted Leo ballad, based on the song’s structure.There is a bit of oriental guitar played under bombastic deep bass drum hits, which bring the idea of bombs to mind.  The end of the song is telling the “east” to not break their promise, ideally, about peace.
“The Sun Never Sets” continues a battlefield image with an anthemic drummer boy percussion, and watery, shoe gazing guitars. It feels like a mourning over those lost on the warfront. A tribute that the sun never sets for those already dead. This is a kind of depressing 2-song ending for such a fun and bouncy album.

Stand Out Track: Trouble with Love

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