The name, The Wheel Workers, conjures up a band that has their hands firmly planted deep in the soil, or perhaps a group of fishermen, singing their hearts out as they pull in the catch. Their sound should be Americana, country, or folk; but instead, they’re a Houston Texas-based indie collective whose sound is the shoe-gaziest shoegaze you’ve ever heard.
New single, ‘Harbor’ (again, if you didn’t know otherwise, you might be expecting a several-part-harmony folk tune), is nonetheless a gorgeous track, with keyboards, drums, guitars, and a wailing synthy sound that could well be produced by a theremin. The instrumentals are the perfect match for the vocals, which have been given an electronic filter, causing it to sound slightly robotic, without losing any of its shoegaze vibe.
The Wheel Workers have been around for more around 20 years, and have more than 15 contributing members. Currently led by founder and longest-serving member, Steven Higginbotham, who is the lead singer, guitarist, keyboardist, and violinist, The Wheel Workers also comprises guitarist and keyboardist Craig Wilkins, keyboardist and singer Erin Rodgers, bassist Zeek Garcia and drummer Kevin Radomski.
Their latest project, ‘Harbor’, released in August last year, was recorded in Higginbotham’s home studio over a three year period. It might have been released sooner, if it wasn’t interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, or if Higginbotham hadn’t also in law school at the time, or indeed, if he hadn’t also fractured his larynx, causing him to think he might never sing again. Thankfully, nearly 3 years on from the fracture, and following plenty of hard work with speech therapy and tailored voice lessons, Higginbotham feels much better, vocally stronger. ‘Harbor’ was produced and mixed by acclaimed producer Dan Workman, who provided a showcase for the band’s fuzzy guitars and synths.
The track is accompanied by a suitably eclectic video, more of a movie than a song visualiser. By now, it’s no less than what we should expect.
Watch the music video for ‘Harbor’ below and find out more about The Wheel Workers and their music online on their official website.