Andrew Vladeck - The Wheel
The life of a New York singer-songwriter must be an arduous one. Attempting not to drown in the ever-growing pool of contemporaries has got to be tough. Then there’s describing yourself as 'alt-folk' and not just sounding like Bob Dylan. And, in all honesty, on the first listen, it would quite easy to dismiss Andrew Vladeck as a cod Elvis Costello also-ran.
But give it a little time and you realise that this is actually an intricate and lightly touching piece of work. There’s even a banjo in it - always a treat for the ears. This is a gentle album, that never really gets out of the lower gears but is all the better for it. When Vladeck lets loose on tunes like ‘These Streets’ it’s in the form of a harmonica freak out. You get the idea.
Vladeck claims that songwriting, for him, is all about the words. Now some might find some of his lyrics a little twee on tracks such as ‘Waiting For the Coffee To Kick In’. And that’s after actually using the word ‘edu-ma-cated’ on ‘Avenue U’. But once again this just becomes charming after a while, especially on album highlight ‘Picking Apples in Orange County’.
Critics would point to an over-affection for Blonde on Blonde and maybe a few too many Ryan Adams b-sides but in the end this turns out to be a nice record for nice people who like nice music. And sometimes that’s an enormous relief.