November 13, 2008
Self titled ‘Squarewheel’
By Susan Thorsen
This is going to age me, but here goes… I can remember there being a really cool jukebox in the cafeteria of my high school that was packed full with all the latest music. We got to spend our lunch time rocking out to the likes of Zeppelin’s, “Livin’ Lovin’ Maid”, The James Gang’s, “Funk 49” and “Walk Away” and (to this day one of my all time favorites) Humble Pie’s, “Hot ‘N Nasty”. I feel fortunate to have grown up with music that had such incredible staying power – classic rock ‘n roll that carved a niche so deep that when we hear some of those tunes today we still find ourselves engrossed, our souls exploding.
Then, by chance, we come across a band like Squarewheel and experience a complete de’ja’vu. Even though it is now the latter part of 2008 and it’s been decades since that cafeteria jukebox truly was “Smokin’”, I have to say Squarewheel’s music easily jolts me back to my days of dancing in the cafeteria at lunchtime.
On this, Squarewheel’s debut CD, entitled simply, “Squarewheel”, this foursome from Dallas, Texas and consisting of Jake Parker throwing his soul on the line with powerful vocals and well thought out lyrics, Caleb Hollowed wailing on some really rich lead guitar riffs, Chris Wilkinson playing a steady and solid thumping bass and Matt Beasley pounding on the drums, makes us remember what true old school rock ‘n roll with soul is really all about. With a little bit of The Black Crowes and The Grateful Dead thrown in for good measure, Squarewheel has got a great potential future of having a huge fan following out there waiting to feast their ears.
Even though most any band would be hard pressed to be considered a match for the incredible sounds of the late, great Steve Marriott, Squarewheel comes closer than most any band I’ve heard that claim they are influenced by the (always underrated) Humble Pie/Faces legacy. The majority of tracks on this cd will end up being described as having a “Squarewheel sound”, but there are a few of the songs on this eight song album that are also richly favored with undertones of other legendary rock bands. I clearly hear Led Zep, such as in the home-grown roots rock track titled “People”; The Black Crowes style, one-two punch southern blues/gospel rock in “Impatience”, and reminders of The James Gang with the melodic rhythm and rocking “Bad Feeling”.
Though this CD sounds great as it is, it could have been considered spectacular had it been more craftily produced and mixed. From that standpoint only, I felt that Squarewheel’s sound could greatly benefit from additional classic Hammond B3 filling out and fattening the majority if not all of their tunes (rather than just scarcely heard in a mere couple of songs) and the mix bringing the vocals more forward and “in your face”. Other than these two suggestions, this is an excellent debut, very creative and innovative and well worth adding to your collection.
I look forward to seeing Squarewheel break out of Texas in a big way very soon. And when they do, watch out, they should end up somewhere near the top and stay there for a long, long time.
Booking/Management Info: Matt Parkerson / email@example.com