SEAN WHEELER & ZANDER SCHLOSS
Walk Thee Invisible
Fans of those Salton Sea crazies Throw Rag may have been curious enough to check out frontman Sean Wheeler in his acoustic guise alongside one time Joe Strummer collaborator Zander Schloss. If you have, and they play many shows in many dive bars, recently coming through town with the mighty Masters Of Reality, then you’re in for a treat. Wheeler is as much an entertainer as he is a great singer, evoking thoughts of some punk rock rat pack with Wheeler as a tattooed Sinatra. He’s a crooner, always with smile and a joke up his sleeve, but a teardrop on his face.
Walk Thee Invisible, as you’d expect from an acoustic album, is a perfect representation of the duos’ live show, with all its moods and all its ups and downs, right up to the gospel track Spiritual that people tend to talk through. Not that the song doesn’t make sense, but it’s perhaps too personal for a crowded room, Wheeler the sinner where other have feared to tread, baring his soul for all to see. Indeed, it’s that kind of album, seeped in the memory of whiskey and lost loves, with song titles like I Wish I Would’ve and Stranded, in many ways an old mans’ bar album, but again, so much more. And such is Wheeler’s roguish charisma that they’re always a wink in the eye that has seen so much regret, a knowledge that no one else is to blame and that tomorrow holds no fears.
It’s best to pick your moments. Walk Thee Invisible is a tough album at times, a wolf hidden in all this melancholy mellowness, and will catch you off guard on the wrong day, inviting you to wallow, as sour as sour mash. But you get that feeling that’s not the point: more than anything this bitter sweet collection is a celebration, sometimes for it’s own sake, for having come out the other side with the ability to still laugh. In truth it’s probably an old farts album, or at least it should be, but that doesn’t seem to have slowed Seasick Steve down (check him out if you haven’t already!), shifting millions of albums with a very similar path, so maybe this will do well. It’s certainly as deserving.