In certain circles Kim Richey's name is synonymous with songwriting of a quality and pedigree that many aspire to but seldom manage. An integrity in her craft that few can match. Richey is a songwriters songwriter, something that is evident by the names that feature in the co-writing credits of this album, including Beth Rowley, Mark Olson and Boo Hewerdine. Wreck Your Wheels will delight those who loved her 2002 album Rise but for those who still hold her first two albums close to their hearts, they may question if the pedestal she sits upon is whole heartily deserved.
From the moment that the opener and title track Wreck Your Wheels kicks in you know you this is a special song. The driving bass and drums are almost hypnotic while the guitars chime in unison with Richey's plaintive yet expressive voice, the low harmonies of Neilson Hubbard an inspired addition. The beautifully downbeat Keys benefits greatly from its sparse arrangement and has the stamp of co-writer Boo Hewerdine all over it while In The Years To Come, co-written by former Jayhawk Mark Olson, she strays deep into Americana territory which sits strangely out of place with the rest of the album. This only proves a minor aside however as the charm of 99 Floors strikes up and washes over you with its slightly haunting yet incredibly warm arrangement. Back To You has a similar vibe and is certainly where Richey excels on this album.
For all the writing talent on display here you get the feeling that she has relinquished to much control on this album to others, as at times it feels rather dis-jointed. Never the less, it is a good introduction to a talent that is increasingly moving further away from her musical roots and defying the musical labels put upon her.