For Twisted Wheel, Snakes and Ladders is not just a board game, it’s a CV. Born in the backwaters of Saddleworth in 2007, the young band, fronted by the feral, precocious Jonny Brown, roared into the race of Indie Punk with such anthems as ‘You Stole The Sun’, ‘She’s a Weapon’ and ‘Lucy The Castle’. Their irrepressible energy and ability to deliver inspired Rock’n’Roll gained them support slots with Oasis, Kasabian, Paul Weller, The Courteeners, Happy Mondays and Ian Brown to name but a few, as well as sell-outs on their first UK and European tours.
Constant touring across the UK, Europe and Japan (thanks to the Grass Route movement and large festivals) led to a solid fanbase despite the dramatic trajectory of its frontman, Jonny Brown – or maybe because of it. Twisted Wheel has indeed rocked and rolled, been smashed up, fallen off the wagon, gone solo, kicked to the kerb – before finding its groove and getting back on it, full speed ahead.
The unlikely combination of elegance and raw inspiration, the familiar coupled with the random, make Twisted Wheel an undeniably popular act that deliver the goods in a way few bands can. But ‘Snakes and Ladders’ is a tour and album far closer to the bone than anything previous. The band has grown up and Brown’s song structures and lyrics are on another level, beyond haggard experience now, worn in with wisdom and wit. As he says: “The song ‘Smash It Up’ epitomised me. I set out to do things and was on the road comfortably and then I turned off and smashed it to bits. I get stuck into things with a passion and then I have to destroy it when the passion’s gone. Mess everything up so that I’m free again to reinvent, create.”
‘Snakes and Ladders’ is about the band blowing the ladders of opportunity they were given – and the snakes which led to them falling off the board. It’s a tour about getting back in the game, finding opportunity again and avoiding those slithery serpents.
Twisted Wheel are back like a man from the dead and with tunes to make up for time lost.