WONDER WHEEL "Natural Selection" C60 (Hobocult Records)

"Natural Selection" is a collection of recordings Paul A Rosales made over the years with some help from Ines Navarro & R Stevie Moore. If Brian Wilson had to "struggle at the piano" for weeks to emulate the ocean's tide & enormity on "Til I Die," Paul seems naturally inclined to make motor music. About half of these songs are actually cars or buses motoring along, & about half are more varied & sideways.

The cars are all unique but they're all built to drive: bass, crushed & specific drums, what sounds like two synth parts (one frothy lead & one more playing against it, maybe played at the same time), occasional support guitar. Paul sings from a pretty limited "melodic palette" that keeps the wheels on the ground, sometimes like early-Bats-style Robert Scott, but this is not the early Bats. The locomotive attitude of these songs works really well to create wide open spaces where intuitive bass playing, perfect-simple drums & well-placed synthesizer parts can frame Paul's vocals. "Future Home" is a great car.

But even the songs that play it straight get weird. Try to count beats in "Bedtime" -- whoa! "Algebra Problem" has a jazz thing. One of the most exciting songs on the album, "Thirteen" is structured over a super hot ascending synth line, like: short searing guitar solo / Ron House-ish vocal verse / short searing guitar solo / verse / etc. "Sleep" is another highlight: ideal mystery TV, erotic dream vocals. "TV Screen" builds in speed toward some wrong vocals & UFO chord changes.

OK you get it. Hey, check out this video of Paul's song "Crimes." Hobocult says "Natural Selection" is out of print but you might be able to get a copy from Paul (myspace here), who has a bunch of other music out, including some you can download from his blog.