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Andrew Vladeck - The Wheel

  by Lisa Torem

published: 7 / 1 / 2010

Andrew Vladeck - The Wheel
Label: End Up Records
Format: CD


Fiery, but poignant latest album from New York singer-songwriter Andrew Vladeck, who while drawing comparisons with both Springsteen and Dylan also has an originality of his own

Enjoy comparing ‘The Wheel’ to standout recordings by other American legends; Andrew Vladeck’s detailed observations recall the muddy footprints that trampled through Springsteen’s ‘Thunder Road’ or the near- neurotic rants that mirror Dylan’s ‘Masters of War.’ Gritty, albeit poignant images creep-out and often rush out of this old- soul, New York singer-songwriter’s prolific pores. But, after meticulously ticking off the similarities, save room for the attributes which set him apart. His first release since 2006, ‘The Wheel’ is stuffed to the gorgeous gills with epiphanies of urban squalor, at times, delivered through unrelenting lyrical tirades. His edgy albeit steadfast vocals are often edged with humour. The thirteen tracks are arranged so that your mind is constantly kept on its toes. The opener ‘Hold Me Back’ creates an “us against them” tension. “It’s hard to sit here and let them run us off the track/I can’t fight the urge to fight back” are visceral lyrics that, paired with a industrious bass line, are full of force. He succinctly describes the incongruities of life with phrases like “patched up with duct tape.” ‘You Can’t Kill Time’ floats into your subconscious as Vladeck sings, “going down the river on an old canoe.” His voice grows into a titillating falsetto at tense lyrical moments against the sombre dirge of coarse acoustic strings. ‘The 21st Century’ alerts your senses with the line, “when David dyed his hair turquoise” and the smooth slide guitar lays against his expressive pipes. ‘The Magnet’ veers into a Celtic-embued arrangement, carefully executed with hammer-ons and plaintive strumming. “You are the magnet/You are the glue/It’s hard and it’s tough/Pieces to pick up,” he sings to a possibly insecure lover. ‘The Songs You Inspire’ won an international songwriting contest. It starts off with a fierce blues-harp followed by Vladeck’s hoarse renderings. ‘Waiting for the Coffee to Kick In’ contains a splash of irony. A slice of life song about disillusionment, Vladeck sings, "Last night I got hammered/But today I woke up nailed/Last night I got ripped/But today I woke up torn." A chimney pot of lyrics that range from soberingly horse-sensical to street-wise to hilarious tread through ‘The Wheel.’ The title song, ‘The Wheel’ boasts suspenseful rapid-fire rhymes. ‘These Streets’ give a nod to Jason Mraz with kicky tempo changes and bad-attitude charm. The metaphorical ‘Picking Apples in Orange County’ is coy, but believable. ‘I Want You Near’ recalls post-Beatles Lennon with a floating paper-cup melody and innocent puppy-love lyrics. ‘Avenue U’s’ apocalyptic message, “We got out just in time before your world sunk into the blue/We couldn’t cross Avenue U,” comes out loud and clear. Kudos to a production team which made sure Vladeck’s vocals remain upfront. But, the most bewildering mélange of textures and word play appear in the penultimate ‘Chinatown.’ “Could be a riddle, it sounds like a rhyme/How can the sun rise and set at the same time?,” Vladeck asks. These questions are set against an almost hallucinogenic ambience as indistinguishable acoustic sounds beg for attention in the background. Oh, and did I mention that the guy can play the hell out of a banjo?

Track Listing:-
1 Hold Me Back
2 You Can't Kill Time
3 The 21st Century
4 The Magnet
5 The Songs You Inspire
6 Waiting for the Coffee to Kick In
7 The Wheel
8 These Streets
9 Picking Apples in Orange County
10 I Want You Near
11 Avenue U
12 Chinatown
13 The 21st Century (Acoustic)

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Interview (2011)
Andrew Vladeck - Interview
In his second interview with Pennyblackmusic, New York-based singer-songwriter Andrew Vladeck speaks to Lisa Torem about his latest EP ‘Passing Knowledge’,which takes its main influences from traditional American acoustic folk music
Interview (2010)

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