Sunday, 30 August 2015

Album: Wheels Collective - Liquid

Wheels Collective Liquid Barcelona

Wheels Collective, Liquid (Album)

Info: Sergi Boal is a classically trained guitarist who has previously released 3 albums and an E.P. as a solo artist, his latest venture sees the formation of Catalonian 5-piece act Wheels Collective and their debut album Liquid. Self-professed influences include modern classical composers Philip Glass and Iceland's Ólafur Arnalds (Gimme Shelter) as well as pop and classical music. Among the themes covered by Boal on Liquid are the reality of the world, the cruelty of war, the drama of the plight of refugees ('Eco Eterno'), velocity of the pace of change of the current times (reflected in the album title), and the hope of a better world ('When The Lights Are Everywhere').

The film score influence is evident from the very opening of the album on 'Fred Roig', rhythmically held together by the acoustic guitar playing and enveloped in operatic string arrangements which soar as the song reaches it's middle. One of the early favourites of mine is second track 'When The Lights Are Everywhere', which has a nice baroque style before suddenly breaking in the first signs of 80's pop elements with vocalist Alba Serrano eerily sounding like Jeff Buckley on 'Opened Once' from Sketches.... In the midst of the string arrangements on 'Lovers' is a slight country western twang, with the track closing with a nice melting electric guitar solo. 

'' is possibly the most intriguing feature of the album, you think you are about to hear the most authentic traditional sounds as a 5-minute instrumental before a brief almost dance-pop vocal sequence lands upon you, the track then winds down into Fleet Foxes territory, an unusual mix in such a short space of time. Towards the album's close comes 'In This Cold Place', very much back to the film score tones of it's beginning, strong jazz vibes come into play with both trumpet and clarinet featuring heavily, a very soothing piece. The bonus track, 'Faces' provides a snapshot of Sergi Boal's solo guitar song-writing and is a good pointer to his previous work, much in the mould of José GonzálezLiquid will require a few more listens for me to figure out how everything comes together, but it's equally enjoyable to try and make sense of an album over time, maybe it's disjointed or maybe it's a very clever blend of sounds that shouldn't work together. 

Sergi Boal, 'Nuvol' / 'Ice Voice'

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