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The Wheel Workers / Press

“Steven Higginbotham is a mixture of insane genius and prolific songwriter...poignant lyrics, the hook heavy structure, and the fully fleshed out tracks are all elements that made this album top notch from start to finish.”

“This Houston-based synth-pop outfit brings a Wes Anderson-inspired aesthetic to the video for a song about plain old heartbreak but also the heartbreak of having your house broken into.”

“catchy indie rock with a progressive message”

“They are simultaneously brilliant and down-to-earth, sincerely progressive and catchy as hell, that rare band that can incorporate thoughtful politics into music while keeping things fun and engaging...The Wheel Workers are freaking awesome, and [with Citizens] they’ve gone a very different direction from the path they marched down last time. And it’s good. Oh, is it good.”

“On their third full-length album, Citizens .... is Higginbotham's best and most fully realized set of songs to date.”

“Sociopolitical consciousness with a memorable hook—think Guthrie, Dylan, even the Clash and Bad Religion.”

“The Wheel Workers’s versatility is evident through their lyrical variety and unique blend of musical styles, and once you listen to their music, you’ll be hooked.”

“I love the blend of sounds on this album. It never feels redundant or derivative and always entertains. 9/10 stars.”

“Guitar, bass and voices work together with other elements to create a gentle musical pattern that makes me think of Pink Floyd quite a bit...there’s not a weak song here. 8/10 stars.”

“The lyrics are sharp, slyly humorous, and Higginbotham’s vocal has spellbinding ease and charm. It is a real credit to this outfit that they are able to deliver such impressively serious lyrical statements with a light, sophisticated musical touch. This is a fearless band. While they are not necessarily seeking to remake the wheel, this album makes it clear that they are unafraid to overturn anything smacking of convention or predictability. They are tremendously skillful at surrounding clearly defined and, occasionally, strident political messages with great musical accompaniment.”

“This band is definitely not lacking in the talent department. The way they put their music together is great! There is great timing on the guitar in this song. Overall, I would give this CD an eight out of ten. It’s one I would introduce my friends to.”

“Their latest album, Past to Present, is an auditory journey through planes of consciousness reminiscent of Pink Floyd at their best....Past to Present is a truly great album. If you remotely enjoy mindscape music, trip-rock, psychedelic rock or anything outside of the standard pop fare you should pick it up immediately.”

“Their power pop meets indie rock sound might be one of the better sounds to come from Houston in recent memory.”

“The Wheel Workers' "Past to Present" was one of the best albums made in Houston last year, the kind of dense and thoughtful recording that offers new rewards during repeated playings.”

“...I feel like this is the kind of music that could break through to people and get them to start asking questions, to start thinking about the choices they make in their lives.”

“There are plenty of good “protest message” albums out there but its rare when the music is as impressive as the message...a sound that invites comparisons to “OK Computer”era Radiohead and Midnight Oil.”

“I’m enraptured by the deftness with which The Wheel Workers have brought together the sounds of Radiohead, ELO, Pink Floyd, The Flaming Lips, twothirtyeight, and The Rentals with such fantastic aplomb. Past to Present is packed to the gills with crazy-good pop music that also manages to be insightful, dense, and heartfelt art-rock.”

“...melds the dreaminess of early-’90s Britpop and shoegaze with the electro-laced sincerity of prime ’00s indie groups like Death Cab for Cutie while venturing into rockier waters on 'Fine Time' and 'Compromise.”

“...the band has gelled and evolved, and the results can be heard on "Past to Present," which retains the melodic ease of the Wheel Workers' previous album but with a more assertive sound that downplays some of the folk elements for something louder and more urgent”

“....the thing I like most is the lyrics. Steven has a superlative way of wielding the magic of words...”

“SXSW Freshmen get their feet wet in Austin”

“They’ve managed to craft a dozen tracks that are thoughtful, warm, friendly, melodic, and addictive as all hell (it’s seriously impossible to not sing along to “Chemicals,” for one)….”

“Their sound ranges ... from the atmosphere of a ragtime band on Bourbon Street to a fight for the proletariat against Wall Street. “The MOP” carries the sentiment of all who have a minimum wage job on their résumé typified with the lyric “let’s kick out the bosses and run it our way”. Now I’ve held both minimum wage jobs and “professional” jobs, and I think that desire is universal. ”

“Much like a certain kind of young person is said to have “an old soul,” so does the music of The Wheel Workers, a Houston-based band that has only been making music together since late 2010, but who sounds seasoned beyond their years. No false steps here. Take for example the opening track, “The MOP,” which begins with simple acoustic guitar strumming and builds to a swinging jazzy number complete with muted trumpets and handclaps. It’s the perfect introduction to an album that blends a variety of instruments, including a more prevalent use of keyboards in later songs, all to great effect. Or listen to the lush “Soft,” which highlights the complementary background vocals that permeate each track. Other songs on the record offer the vibe of a band that doesn’t have to try too hard to be good. Simple, beautiful melodies are more than enough here, and The Wheel Workers don’t need to reinvent anything to succeed in crafting an outstanding debut.”

““Stereomad” might be the most enchanting indie song I’ve heard since early Arcade Fire, and far less fussy than that band. The cascading, carol-like male-female vocals on that track are wonderful. I had to listen to it three times in a row (and then twice more when the album finished).”

“There’s something about them that screams, “we should be on tour opening for The Decemberists,” and that’s really saying something.”

“Really nice smooth well-produced pop that features wonderful winding melodies and incredible vocals. The folks in this band are doing everything right. The band's pure artistic integrity is obvious on each and every track. Rarely do we hear self-released albums this good. Killer cuts include "The Mop," "Stereomad," "I Don't Know," and "Right Way To Go." Exceptional stuff...and an obvious TOP PICK.”

“In the tradition of Fugazi, The Wheel Workers are a rare conscious band in the modern music age. Expect inspiration and lush arrangements, not preaching or predictability.”

"[Track 1, The MOP] is pretty freaking great — Higginbotham and his gang make it work, sounding like a quirky protest-ragtime band that’d be right at home marching on Wall Street, tubas and clarinets a-blazing, gathering people behind them as they danced their way in to tear down the financial giants."

"If not careful, you’ll find yourself slipping away into your own daydreams. Perhaps that’s the reason that Unite is written. The lyrics are full of “everyman” struggles of day-to-day life and love. As much as Unite is a personal introspection for Higginbotham via songwriting, it inspires one in the listener...The Wheel Workers might not pull off an indie upset like Arcade Fire winning best new album, but Unite is a record that will demand an audience from a hungry Houston music scene."

“...I feel like this is the kind of music that could break through to people and get them to start asking questions, to start thinking about the choices they make in their lives.”

“Steve Higginbotham’s Wheel Workers are spinning after a quiet five-year spell [with] the lush and radiant pop album Unite.”