Death on Two Wheels - Death on Two Wheels
Record Label: The Ghost Umbrella
Release Date: Nov. 5, 2013
Sometimes you need your music a little feisty and ferocious. The self-titled sophomore album from Atlanta’s Death on Two Wheels is exactly that as well as surprising, strafing and stunning. The disc opens with the rattling rocker “Look at the Sound,” a beast of a track with an explosive and shuddering chorus. The song leans slightly towards the O'Brother songbook and in under three minutes announces the band’s arrival as a major player in the months and years to come.
The grungy ‘Hey Amariah,” is accented by another top-flight chorus and vocalist Trae Vedder’s craggy growl. The swampy and haunting “Petty Boom” is an organ-driven mashup of both Southern rock and 1970s album rock. Possessing as much attitude and swagger as the previous two songs, “Petty Boom” is an absolute firecracker and the first of many moments in which the band’s endless talent is on full display. The howling ass-kicker “Burn Loretta” follows and kicks and spits with rage and fury. Vedder’s throaty vocals are anything but understated and the passion that pours from him is almost otherworldly. The self-titled album draws to a close with the serpentine “Swamp” and the desperate stomper “Giving it All Away.” Of the two, “Giving it All Away” is the stronger of the two and by a wide margin. Possessing much of the histrionics and kinesis from “Burn Loretta,” “Giving It All Away” pounces from the very first minute and never once relents.
The slow starting “Blamed Your Friends” kickstarts the disc’s latter half and does so in a way that would make fans of My Morning Jacket quite pleased. Ringing, hypnotic and chock full of clattering guitars, chiming organs and propulsive drums, it is as rewarding as it is revelatory. On the heels of “Blamed Your Friends” is the sweaty and searing “13 Words,” an effort which sinks to the bottom contrasted against the album’s previous seven songs. That’s not to say it’s a hiccup or a mistake, it just doesn’t have the same grit and gravity of its predecessors. The leave-it-all-on-the-table stomper “Death Wolf” follows and has a sense of helplessness that gets expanded upon in its successor, the near-perfect “Blew it Out,” an Aerosmith-esque effort that is almost certain to be a live favorite. The Atlanta quintet turns the lights out with “Children,” a six minute stew of cacophony, torment and sweat.
Whereas some discs leave you wanting more and anxious to go back and press repeat, Death on Two Wheels leaves you breathless, haggard and emotionally drained. While for some discs this is a major drawback, for this listening experience its the satisfaction of an hour fully invested. Whereas many bands are quick to rush through a disc and deliver a sloppy, unfocused effort, Death on Two Wheels has done exactly the latter. Though it is decidedly short on balladry and lighter fare, the impact of the eleven songs stand on their own. Though they are just two albums into their young careers, Death on Two Wheels have carved out an indelible impression and firmly cement themselves as a band worth paying attention to in the months and years to come.