‘If it’s not clear to you just yet, it’s going to be: Twisted Wheel are about to drop one of the best DIY rock & roll comeback albums of our time.’
Sometimes, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself and Twisted Wheel have just done that with the new highly anticipated album ‘Satisfying The Ritual’. Due for release on the 20th of March, it follows the number one EP Jonny Guitar and further cements the band as one of the most vital and important groups of today. This album was created completely DIY and the band have no label, are family managed and have self funded the album themselves, which for me personally, only further adds to its appeal.
After a tough few years battling his demons, with this album Jonny Brown and his band Twisted Wheel are once again showing the music industry that true guitar music and heartfelt lyricism is far from dead. Here we have a lively, punk rock record, yet a personally deep offering that is full of hope, rather than one wallowing in despair. The band successfully express the passion and pain of being a human being through different trials and tribulations throughout the album, with riveting dissections of the human psyche and soul. This album shows the progression and maturity not only lyrically for Twisted Wheel, but also musically. It displays the full range of the band’s exploratory talents whilst successfully summing up life in the current day, as well as exploring some more heartfelt and personal avenues, including a track dedicated to Jonny’s late mother in ‘DNA’. It also touches upon a array of current subjects such as the digital era, internet trolls, loneliness, the music industry and addiction all intertwined with a solid vein of positivity.
It’s immediately obvious on the first listen why the likes of Paul Weller, Liam and Noel Gallagher and many others have had their heads turned by this band. From the opening to the finishing track, there are some superb lyrics to hear on this album. Everything on here is of the utmost quality and it sounds like a dream.
The album is a pure masterclass, it’s emotional, it’s socially aware and above anything else it feels honest and real.
So, let me and the band take you through the tracks one by one…
The album kicks off with the adrenaline pumping, full of righteous anger ‘Nomad Hat’ which has been going down a storm, live. It’s a machine gun of a track firing at a thousand miles an hour and should be at the top of your list as one of your favourite anthems. Rock & roll is rarely this edgy and invigorating which is the main reasons that it made me fall in love with it immediately. The song wastes absolutely no time in getting incredibly ferocious and it’s strong anthemic quality sucks you right into the heart of the song.
A very strong start to the album.
The band say…
The lyrics Jon has written for this strike a call for freedom against the digital hysteria which now dominates every corner of our lives. There is nothing purer than the simplicities of breathing in the fresh air, taking in the landscape and feeling alive with the world at your feet. It has a northern grit and sharp poetic aura that trickles throughout this stylish, widescreen, new wave sound which the band have worked very hard to craft in the studio.
I AM IMMUNE
‘Don’t let the bastards grind you down’
A massive highlight of the album and a song that speaks to me on so many levels, ‘I Am Immune’ is a big fuck off to probably not only those in the music industry but those who disbelieve and don’t like to see others do well. Musically, it’s a real fast-paced number, a full-on raucous fuck off Twisted Wheel punk party. The rawness of the track adds an element of authenticity to it that I love, its no thrills, catchy, melodic and fun. The lyrics are venomous and passionate as ever ‘Yesterday I lost my way, my life was like a hurricane’ Jonny has an ability to set himself apart in the most impressive way.
It’s a proper foot-stomper of a song and the guitar at the end is unreal. Jonny may be singing about himself here, but I find myself interpreting the lyrics and meaning onto my own life, which as any music lover knows, is an essential requirement of a truly great band and song.
I cannot state enough just how good Twisted Wheel are as musicians, it’s very hard to remain still whilst listening to them and this song has that trademark TW strong sense of urgency that always grabs my attention immediately, as I’m sure it will yours too.
The band say…
I Am Immune’ stands for immunity from the bad mouths, trolls and negative comments endured in the music industry. Packing a punch this song keeps you updated with what the band are and have always been, a high energy heavily punk inspired group. Taking a no shit from nobody approach works well in a world where jealousy is rife, and people can try to bring you down masked in their own homes using the internet as a way of abusing artists in public without them being able to do much about it.
BLACK AND BLUE
This was a immediate favourite of mine the first time I heard it because I love the line “I don’t believe in anyone and I barely trust myself”. A great song with a topic of somebody who has lost faith in everything and everyone. Something that a lot of us will be able to relate to strongly, however again, the track has a bright, melodic theme of things can get better. This is a running theme through the album which I also really like. Black & Blue is far slower than the previous two tracks and is the first to really show off the bands abilities to play more slower numbers.
The band say…
As young people go through the biggest mental health crisis of modern times, it seemed fitting to reflect this through the medium of popular song. “I don’t believe in anyone and I barely trust myself” is a powerful and universal lyric which mirrors a lot of insecurity in a society in which so many of the people who are perceived to do good in the world, eventually turn out corrupt and deceitful. The added touches of slide guitar and distant backing vocals really give that sense of melancholy that we wanted to put across with this track.
This is an incredibly touching and emotional song that quietly breaks your heart. Its a really fitting tribute to Jonny’s mother who sadly lost her battle with alcohol addiction. Another track that has continued to grow on me enormously with every listen. Losing someone may just be one of the toughest feelings you have to go through and I admire anyone who can take all that emotion and put it into a song.
The band say…
DNA shows a side of Wheel which has never been seen before, and brings about the most beautiful and poignant moment on the new album. The story of lead singer Jonny Brown’s mother passing away from alcoholism brings forth a whole universe of ups and downs. After several years of battling his own demons, conquering and getting his life back on track Brown wrote the track as a tribute to his late mother. The song captures everything he could have hoped for with an abundance of love, passion and emotion that builds towards a thrilling crescendo of true rock ’n’ roll firepower.
On first listen, Ghost Man shows that there lots of musical variety and styles on this album and I can’t help but hear elements of Arctic Monkeys especially on the intro, which isn’t a bad thing. TW continue to augment their punk approach throughout this track by fearlessly mixing in multiple other genres to create their distinct sound and it shows on this track.
There are some real gems on this album and this is definitely one of them.
The band say…
This is what you get when you fuse the sound of ‘Johnny Kidd & The Pirates’ with ‘Pixies’ to tell the story of a mentally unhinged criminal mastermind. It’s often the tracks like this that was written and recorded in a very short space of time that produce the most compelling and fascinating results in the studio. If anything, this is a track that truly shows that the barriers of what was expected of Twisted Wheel have been well and truly knocked down.
WHEELS OF LOVE
A slap in the face about the reality of the music industry and being in a band. It’s a very Lennon esque sounding track this in parts, which I love. When a songwriter tackles any part of writing about the music biz, it’s almost never wearing rose-tinted specs. However, it’s more of a slap of reality track rather than one full of complaint.
The band say…
Meaning the band are firmly back on track and moving forward. With a misconceived perception of what people think a job in a working band trying to make it bigger consists of. The ‘Wheels Of Love’ lyric ‘Well you’re sleeping on floors, whilst living the dream’ states that although some people look up to certain bands in awe and strive to achieve what they have the reality is somewhat very different.
WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD
What a great chorus ‘Wrong Side Of The Road’ has, Jonny’s vocals really shine on this track. The music is superb – guitar, bass and drums all playing their parts perfectly. The song has a slow build throughout that keeps leading wonderfully to the chorus, which will most definitely take up residence in your head.
The band say…
To try and articulate the very basic life principle of “learn your lessons” through imagery such as the wicker man, poet and town crier is not conventional in any sense, but it does ring true in a backwards kind of way. ‘Wrong Side of The Road’ is a track that really came to life in the studio with sonically wide and open production, projecting that beautiful and anthemic sound that we seem to have captured brilliantly on this album.
‘2020 Vision’ is a definitely a track I can see going down very well live. The chorus is a catchy one, which works well with the bouncy melody.
The band say…
The year is 2020 and although we’re breaking down scientific boundaries and getting more knowledgeable on climate change and space travel by the second there’s still many feats to climb, but to achieve anything, we much persist to stay positive and look to a brighter future. With the blues still coursing through our veins as true rock ’n’ rollers ‘2020’ pimps up the blues as most great rock ’n’ roll does with elements of The Beatles, The La’s and Led Zeppelin this makes for a raucous energetic album track with a poem screamed out in a disorientated manner.
A fan favourite from EP ‘Jonny Guitar’ I’m so glad to see this track on the album. Again, a dark theme within the lyrics but set to upbeat music, it’s definitely one of my favourites from the bands earlier releases.
We didn’t want to let this song go without the attention it deserved. So, we did a slight rework of the version that featured on the ‘Jonny Guitar EP’. The song arouses suspicion of a dubious past, epitomized especially by the lyrics: ‘with devils’ brass’ and ‘she’s my only friend’. It’s a story of loneliness, isolation and a seedy existence.
SATISFYING THE RITUAL
Wow. The penultimate song for me on this album, its so unique and believe it to be an area the band need to 110 percent explore more, this track just comes out of nowhere and is beautifully laced with some echoing, trippy sound effects. It shows a nice variation of their sound, as well as their influences. Completely atmospheric, the spacious sounds of guitar resonate throughout the whole track with clarity and intensity, whilst a slow throbbing drum beats in the background. It’s absolutely outstanding. This track really excites me for the sort of music TW will in the future go onto release.
The title track on the album shows yet again another side of the band’s varied box of tricks. With a whirlwind of lyrics covering all subjects from destiny, psychology, fear, to missing planes and doomed adventures, the lyrics capitulate the need we all have to discover, experiment, explore, take risks, succeed, fail and therefore satisfy our own rituals. With a hedonistic chorus to accompany the rap/hip hop inspired delivery of the verses the music holds a constant groove throughout the song with an assortment of effects this track leaves the door wide open for more interesting experimentation in the future.
A song of despair turned to hope, ‘Show Me’ is another absolutely beautiful track. This anthem is pure, wistful, it’s piano, classic guitar strums, and croons from Jonny are just gorgeous. The piano truly adds in the special touch, super chilled vibes and beautiful sounds, a modern masterpiece. Thye couldnt of picked a better song to finish on.
The band says:
Show me is a reminder to one’s self about the dark times endured by the band and myself but always optimistic that the light would someday be found and things would get better. It shows a true love for the beautiful things in life but not forgetting what it’s taken to actually be able to fully appreciate the goodness. Piano and nothing more than a classical guitar end the record with a kind of back to basics approach. Simplicity is key after all.
In conclusion, all the tracks offer the well welcomed Twisted Wheel shot of adrenaline, they are solid and you don’t want to skip any of them. Continuity in an album is important, but its a skill in itself to have each song distinct enough not to sound the same and Twisted Wheel have acheived that. The album sounds fresh, energetic and alive.
They’ve not only hit a personal best but they’ve also set in stone the fact that they are still one of the most authentic and realest rock n roll bands who are worth their salt in the world today.
It’s now the time for national radio, press, promoters and the music industry in general to sit up and pay attention, because if there’s any band to be standing tall at the helm of the guitar revolution and to break down those walls back into the mainstream charts, then trust me when I say it’s going to be Twisted Wheel.
Pre-Order the Album + Exclusive Special Bundles Here
Formed in Greater Manchester in 2008 and fronted by the feral Jonny Brown, Twisted Wheel have long been waving the flag for rock’n’roll in 21st Century. Standing out from the pack with early anthems such as ‘You Stole The Sun’, ‘She’s a Weapon’ and ‘Strife’, the band earned a cult and devoted following almost instantaneously, and were signed up to label big-boys Sony for their strident s/t debut album. With an irrepressible energy and gutsy live reputation, early in their career Twisted Wheel were invited to support music titans the likes of Oasis, Kasabian, Paul Weller, Happy Mondays and Ian Brown to name but a few, and enjoyed sold-out tours in the UK and overseas in their own right. However, intense wall-to-wall touring schedules and a matching hedonistic lifestyle would see them rolled, smashed-up and even set on fire and they inevitably took their toll. Twisted Wheel split in 2013. Some 5 years later, Twisted Wheel returned refreshed and with a renewed sense of purpose. With Jonny still at the helm, the band were greeted open-armed by their unwavering fanbase and embarked on the hugely successful ‘Snakes and Ladders’ comeback tour. Since then, the band have made high profile appearances at some of the UK’s most major festivals including Reading & Leeds, Kendal Calling and EH6, alongside huge gigs at the likes of Finsbury Park and Old Trafford supporting Liam Gallagher. In 2020, Twisted Wheel now look on to the release of their much anticipated new album: ‘Satisfying the Ritual’. Arriving hot on the heels of their hugely popular ‘Jonny Guitar’ EP (which impressively reached the No.1 spot in the UK physical charts), the band have teased their upcoming third LP with a run of searing singles DNA, Nomad HAt and Black and Blue.