The Color Wheels - The Color Wheels (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Color Wheels

The Color Wheels (2007)

Viper Bite

If you find husband/wife duos too cute to bear, I'm going to have a hard time selling the idea of the Color Wheels to you.

The backstory goes something like this: While battling a fit of writer's block, singer/songwriter Jon Sebastian was asked by his wife, Psalm, to teach her how to play drums. Jon agreed and began to write simple songs that they'd be able to play together. They dubbed themselves the Color Wheels, recorded a demo and played some shows around the Northeast, which all led to their self-titled debut full-length. And while the songs may appear simple on the surface, there's enough substance behind them that in the correct context, they portray meaningful themes to which a lot of us can surely relate. We were all children and teenagers once (and some of us still are), and listening to this record harkens back to a simpler time when responsibility meant keeping your room clean, and bills were just something you heard your parents bitch about.

For the most part, the songs on The Color Wheels fit a certain mold of jangly indie pop, and this mostly sunny approach suits the overall whimsy of the lyrical content pretty nicely. "Green Means Go" is arguably the strongest track here, with an unbelievably catchy chorus built around crunchy, upbeat verses. The lyrics even have an Andrew W.K. reference, which, really, ought to be required in every song ever written from here on out. "Green Means Go," along with "Camping Trip" and the hilarious "Don't Hit on Me," conjure up Weezer comparisons due primarily to the heavier, crunchier guitar work, as well as Jon Sebastian's croon.

Even though the Color Wheels are just a two-piece band, they utilize many other instruments and sounds. Copious amounts of handclaps are present in power-pop riot "Superjet Waterslide," the hook is provided by a keyboard in the somewhat silly "Plain Jane" and even a violin creeps up in the more reserved "Pirate Ship."

The band slows things down a bit on "Hot for Teacher," which unfortunately is not a Van Halen cover, and the extra jangly "Let's Play House," the latter also featuring some especially strong vocal harmonies.

The Color Wheels will inevitably be dismissed by many as pure cheese, but for a listener looking for something light and fun that isn't just mindless pop music, it ought to do the trick.