The Rebel Wheel is a modern Canadian progressive rock ensemble based in Ottawa. Their influences range from Gentle Giant to Frank Zappa and from Genesis to Rush, although the band don’t necessarily sound like these artists. The Rebel Wheel was originally formed in 1991 as a fusion-based midi-ensemble, but the line-up has gradually grown to the current four piece featuring David Campbell (guitars, vocals and bass), Angie McIvor (saxophone, vocals and keyboards), Aaron Clarks (drums, percussion) and Calude Prince (bass guitar).
The album title was inspired by a story of David’s ten year old son who wrote to him: ‘wii are in the time of evil clocks’. It was about a wii game controller and an evil clock. They battled, the clock was defeated and for some obscure reason the controller got a job at Wal-Mart, where he worked until his dying days. Campbell liked the title and changed ‘wii’ into ‘we’. In my opinion it’s a very funny, but also a strange story, and so is the music. We Are In The Time of Evil Clocks contains seven songs with the largest piece being the thirty- minute epic The Discovery Of Witchcraft consisting of seven parts.
After listening to this album a few times, I’ve done my utmost to judge the music without being prejudiced, but I had to conclude that I can’t appreciate this production of The Rebel Wheel. It’s certainly neither symphonic nor progressive rock; it sounds more like unpolished noise. I hear many strange rhythms, indistinct vocals and above all I missed a musical structure in the individual songs. Moreover, there is no cohesion between the musicians at all. It seems as if each band member plays its own part without considering the others; the music lacks a logical idea. Angie McIvor’s voice isn’t a pleasant one to listen to and her lyrics are very depressing. In the end there’s only one song left that I found rather acceptable: the ballad Settling Of Bones. Maybe this album is a good choice for people who like unorthodox and distorted music, but for me the music of The Rebel Wheel is too experimental, too noisy.
* Cor Smeets (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013