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  • WONDERWHEEL
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WONDERWHEEL


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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ORCHARD.COM
  • ASIN: B00000JG02
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,571,047 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Vincent E. Vizachero on March 15, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'll admit up front that I bought this CD because I figure any band who took their name from a Marty Robbins tune couldn't be all bad. I was not disappointed.
The musical style of Utah Carol is a bit tough to pin down (think equal parts Simon & Garfunkel and Poi Dog Pondering, with a little Johnny Cash thrown in for fun). Nonetheless, the sound is fun, playful, and honest. The arrangements are a bit simple, but there is enough talent here to carry the album.
The CD comes off as unpretentious and charming, which I suspect is the intent. The lyrics are straight up, yet well-crafted. There is nothing here that makes me scream "I wish I wrote that" but neither are there any embarrassments. There are enough interesting turns of phrase and arrangements to convince me that the band has plenty more to offer as they grow.
Still, this is a heck of a debut. This album will get plenty of play in my house, and this band will be one to watch.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Simon Gillett (s.gillett@tesco.net) on October 10, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This cd was reviewed in Mojo magazine here in the UK and on the strength of this I tracked the cd down through Amazon. It arrived yesterday and hasn't been off the player yet!
I'm a fan of Wilco, the Jayhawks, Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, Whiskeytown and so on but Utah Carol defy comparison beacuse Wonder Wheel is so wonderfully varied and eccentric. I still am surprised at every new track and I love the little mini-instrumentals and the quirky organ sound that pops up every now and again. The whole cd is a pleasure and probably deserves 5-stars but we English don't like to overpraise! Buy it!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By splendidezine.com on September 27, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I like it when a band takes me completely by surprise. Case in point: the opening moments of Wonderwheel suggest that Utah Carol is another starkly melodic alt-country duo...but such is not the case. If Wonderwheel is an alt-country album, it's an alt-country album produced by Van Dyke Parks...which is a pretty interesting concept in itself.
There's a strong, strong pop aesthetic at work here amid all the twang. It's evident in the lush sophistication of the melodies -- "Charmed Life", for instance, adds multiple layers of vocal and instrumental harmony, giving the song a lingering presence. The gentle "Bluejay" enhances Jinja Davis' sing-song vocals with a pervasively bouncy organ drone. "9:09" borrows its rhythm from reggae, then Americanizes it with vocal layers and Hammond flourishes, while the overtly twangy "Buffalo" goes for Beach Boys-style harmonies.
The deeper you venture into Wonderwheel, the less you're certain what to expect. "Cluttered Mind" goes straight for jaunty psychedelia. "Saying Grace" is a comfortable piece of country pop, but the modest R&B vibe of "Turn My Way" will make you check to see if an Apples in Stereo CD has found its way into the CD player. "Me and You," will further confuse you, as Davis' breathy lyrical delivery is buoyed by vibraphone and keyboard (or some similar combination of ringing tones). You won't find that sort of stuff on most of your bog-standard alt-country CDs. The jarring keyboard sequence that ends the album puts everything in perspective: Utah Carol like to keep you guessing, and sometimes they like to give you a jolt.
As much as I enjoyed Wonderwheel, I found it guilty of a degree of "kitchen sink-ism".
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 30, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Chicago--urban, Midwestern, serious lack of tumbleweeds--doesn't strike you as a hotbed of Americana, but it's making its case, from alt country godfather Jeff Tweedy to immigrants The Handsome Family. Utah Carol--named after a song sung by Marty "Mr. Teardrop" Robbins about a cowboy who dies trying to save his friend from a stampede--are, like the Handsomes, a husband-wife team, but there the similarity ends. The latter sound like an alcoholic Johnny Cash writing the music for a David Lynch spaghetti western--Utah Carol's take is more Dolly Parton and Minutemen soundtracking a John Ford beach-party movie. A whimsical, engaging mix--alt Appalachia (fine opener My Fear), futuristic surf-folk polka (Toy Train), R&B, country rock--their voices make a nice happy-sad combination. Wonderwheel is an engaging 20-song album.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Utah Carol's debut album Wonderwheel is the creme of the crop, the good stuff. The album has interesting instrumental stuff, some of it countryish, all of it very top-notch. Utah Carol creates simple, well-executed melodies, engaging performances...it's a real nice sound. Take a chance...with 20 cuts on this album, it's worth the money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By W. K. Aiken on July 26, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have owned "Wonderwheel" for about 6 months, now. It's a favorite for when I have to go to the airport (about 45 mins.) or other long-distance commute-like trips, since it really dampens the road rage.
As well, it's always fun to see the faces of friends when they actually start to listen and realize that they aren't hearing corporate radio. Most times folks want to know what it is (my brother made me stop at a Sam Goody and get a copy immediately) but the occasional "person" is a bit ambiguous.
I will have to admit that the last track is pretty unexplainable, and if I get to the flip on the disc I usually just skip past it and go back to track 1. However, I sometimes listen just to see if I get any subliminal messages. Nothing yet, so maybe I'll turn the bass up or down on the drum march.
I'd like to have lunch with the band sometime. They seem like very laid back and enjoyable folks.
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