I often wonder what it would have been like to be a teenager in the '60s and '70s. Instead of rock legends like Led Zeppelin or The Rolling Stones gracing my fictional vinyl collection, I had Good Charlotte and Blink-182 on Enhanced CD. Instead of Woodstock, I had Warped Tour. I never galavanted through flower patches on LSD, kissing strangers and falling in love with clouds -- I streamed a live performance of Childish Gambino on YouTube while checking my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Yes, we live in a different time. A decade centered around Skrillex, drive-thru coffee and iPhone rumors. That doesn't mean the heart of gut-bustin, crying guitar solos and bluesy-rock has been forgotten, however. Tacoma foursome Big Wheel Stunt Show have revived a gritty, raw sound that pours the heart and soul of major rockers before them: Jimmy Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd. It's all there, wrapped around 11 songs of slow, heartfelt melodies, angelic guitar riffs and fast, fluent drums.
"To Believe In," my personal favorite, chills with the passion of a song that knows just how good it is. Slow, crisp hi-hat, free-flowing guitar and fierce, pining vocals -- I can't get enough. What's best is the intelligence and musicianship behind each song. It takes talent to learn the songs that defined a genre. It takes heart to carve your own niche.
Of course, not all is rose colored in the land of BWSS. "Wonderful LIFE" is puzzling at best and does nothing more than eat up 1:06 of album space. It's fun, quirky and playful, and even features a crying baby and a few seconds of candid whistling ... but what are we being set up for? It's not like this is a light-hearted record full of booty shaking. A lot of this is really serious stuff. Regardless, the blotches on Wonderful LIFE are pointless footnotes at best. Skip the first song and revel in the other 10. That's what I've been doing doing for a week.
But hell, what do I know? I already admitted to owning a Good Charlotte CD.