According their website, “The Lost Wheels fuse together old-school American blues with up-tempo Australian pub rock – combining a hint of funk and a heavy dose of slide guitar.” Hi-falutin’ as all that sounds, don’t let it throw you off. Fact is, the band, plain and simple, plays damned good, high energy rock. Some of the best blue-collar, meat and potatoes music since Foreigner. With, okay, yes, a lot of slide. Damned good slide.
Singer-guitarist Dan Warner (the Australian-born element), lead guitarist Walt Kruhoffer, drummer Brian Rubin, bassist Daniel J. Scott and keyboardist Evan Clark have the best gimmick money can’t buy. Talent. To burn. Which accounts for their auspicious debut and sustained success: they released their first recording Chipper (EP) only a year ago, immediately garnering favor in the mainstream press, exposure on Twin Cities Public Television and airplay on WCCO and KFAI. This October, they followed up handsomely, issuing a second, full-length disc, Rule for a Day, launching it with a show at about as hot a venue as there is to come by, The Fine Line, right in the heart of downtown Minneapolis’ thriving club scene.
Soon as Rule for a Day starts off, you can sense it’s a winner. Not that first impressions don’t often fool: how many albums, including those in the big-time, have begun on the good foot with the one great song a group has to offer and then fallen flat after that?
“The Things” reaches out and hooks you into a streamlined, hard-driving sound that, cut to cut, you have a hard time letting go of. “Rule for a Day” follows, in quintessential rock ballad mode, the only slowing down being the tempo. The energy stays high, the Warner’s stark vocals still immediate, Kruhoffer weighing with a strident, lyrical solo accentuated by Rubin tastefully wearing out the skins.
For numbers that proceed all funked up, at break-neck speed (“Hard Line”), for those that wax laid back (“I Know You”), everything there keeps you right with these guys. Their trademark is quality rock. Scott, on, for instance “I Know You” plays bass with a style fluid as river water, ripples included. Frederick has the generally lost art of mastering a Hammond B-3 down cold with a haunting, take-it-to-church presence.
All said, The Lost Wheels is a successful, first rate outfit presently pushing one kick-ass-and-take-names album Rule for a Day.
CORRECTION 11/21/2013: The name of the keys player on the album isn’t Andrew Frederick, but rather Evan Clark.