Exposé Online banner

High Wheel — Back from the Void
(Ipso Facto 001, 2002, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2003-12-01

Back from the Void Cover artThe first thing I thought of when I put this CD on was "Echolyn with a German accent." That sums High Wheel up pretty well (at least superficially), but it doesn't tell the whole story. I don't know whether the band is intentionally emulating Echolyn or if they just have the same base influences, but the music comes out rather similar. Complex arrangements, elaborate vocal harmonies, bright sounds, heavy reliance on keyboards, and so on. The accented English is only really noticeable on the softer moments when the singer (three of the members sing, so I don't know who it is at any given time) is not supplemented by backing vocals. The worst of these times is on "Dark," a short acoustic tune based on an old German song reminiscent of "Greensleeves" with a medieval arrangement. But then the band kicks right back into high gear with the rhythmic opening of the 32 minute suite called "Blind Archer," which is divided into ten sections, some of which are continuous from track to track. The story involves prophecies and kingdoms, so it's probably best not to examine the lyrics too closely. For the most part I find it easy enough to enjoy the music and let the words slip by as notes without meaning. It would be easy to dismiss High Wheel as derivative or unoriginal, but I find the music catchy enough and the arrangements complex enough to grab my interest and get my head bopping happily.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 28, 2002 releases

Related artist(s): High Wheel

Latest news

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Mystery - Destiny? – Yikes, my second guilty pleasure disc this time around! Mystery are a four piece from Quebec and on Destiny? they serve up some fine slices of progressive pop, often sounding like an updated version...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues