Album Review: Twisted Wheel – Satisfying The Ritual

Satisfying The Ritual

‘The Wheel’ rolls again as Twisted Wheel release their long-awaited album number three titled ‘Satisfying The Ritual’ on 20th March.

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Twisted Wheel are a band who have a huge cult following and despite being broken, battered and buckled at times the band always rolls on.

There is no bullshit with Twisted Wheel and that is a big reason why they are loved so much. Frontman Jonny Brown particularly has had some troubled years but over the last couple of years his focus has been fully dedicated to ‘The Wheel’ and the rewards for his hard work have been paying off, this has seen the ‘The Wheel’ back on track with appearances at most of the major festivals as well as being regular support to Liam Gallagher.

It is now amazingly eight years, I guess eight years of noise and confusion for Brown since Twisted Wheel released their second album ‘Do It Again’. Jonny Brown has said that barring a couple of tracks he doesn’t like ‘Do It Again’, branding it a mess and I guess it also brings back memories of a time he wants to distance himself away from now.

‘Satisfying The Ritual’ blows the door straight off the hinges and sends it flying into the next neighbourhood with the previously released ‘Nomad Hat’. The northern powerhouse of a track is typical Twisted Wheel and that is what we want but this is delivered in a newer way, the punk core is still there but this is more positive rather than angry, positivity in freedom. The tune speeds along with a pace that is moshpit inducing. As the track mellows a bit there is a talking section which has a Courteeners element about it, as Brown chats, the tension in the music is bubbling away in the background before one last burst of energy.

Also released before the album are ‘Black & Blue’ and ‘DNA’. ‘DNA’ is the most honest Twisted Wheel track to date and is a tribute to Jonny Brown’s Mother who lost her life, the psychedelic and the whirling hypnotic guitars feel like a symbol of the confusion Jonny must have been going through at the time, the wailing of Jonny’s “I only saw her Yesterday.” Really hits you hard on this one.

For the old school ‘Wheel’ fans there are some conventional tunes which will certainly get the live crowds bouncing, ‘2020 Vision’, the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club-Esque bluesy ‘Wheels of Love’ and the punchy ‘I Am Immune’ will satisfy both the old and the young punks. ‘I Am Immune’ is a middle finger salute to the bastards who try and grind you down. Now more than ever with the internet, the world is full of trolls, hate and jealousy and ‘I Am Immune’ is a take no shit anthem which stemmed from Paul Gallagher telling Jonny, “Don’t let the bastards get you down” after a dj set together and this struck a chord with Brown.

The album is at its most interesting when Twisted Wheel steps out of the punky comfort zone though and ventures into more, I guess… Almost classic rock territory.  ‘Ghost Man’ is Ska revival based, the kind of track that came from the likes of The Dead 60s, & The Ordinary Boys back in the mid-’00s. ‘The Ghost Man’ is described as a fictional con man from Brown, and in the chorus, while the Police are looking for him it says that the Ghost Man is working on his tan, Jonny said that he has escaped to Marbella… but… Could this be another con from the Ghost Man and is he actually the same man who Stole The Sun?

The title track ‘Satisfying The Ritual’ is the stand out track, just for the fact it is so unexpected. For the first minute you think it is an eerie instrumental before Brown kicks in with a rap, yes a rap! The tune turns into a laid back rap with kind of a cinematic, apocalyptic vibe running throughout.

Ending the album is ‘Show Me’, again this is more classic rock and the slowest on the album with tinklings of a piano too, a great way to end the album, Pink Floyd vibes are heavy in this track. With ‘Satisfying The Ritual’ and ‘Show Me’ being the two most out there tracks on the LP and both ending the album, is this some kind of transition into the next phase of ‘The Wheel’???

(Review byMarc Whiffen)

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