Compiled and released in the wake of Hot Water Music's reunion, Till the Wheels Fall Off collects 23 tracks' worth of outtakes, covers songs, and other such rarities, making it a must-have for HWM enthusiasts and an exhaustive odds-and-sods anthology for pretty much everyone else. The songs are arranged in reverse chronological order, meaning that Wheels begins in 2004 (two years before the band threw in the towel) and gradually dials itself back to the mid-'90s. Despite the various side projects and temporary breakups that dotted their decade-long career, the bandmates stay consistent throughout this set. The production is similarly steady, since the compilation's emphasis seems to be on polished, quality material rather than demos and half-finished sketches. Accordingly, fans who own the Never Ender compilation won't find much repetition here. Those unfamiliar with Hot Water Music's catalog will likely gravitate toward the disc's multitude of covers, from punky renditions of Bruce Springsteen's "Surrender" and Midnight Oil's "Dreamworld" to two Alkaline Trio numbers. Still, this release is self-consciously aimed at the loyal audience who supported Hot Water Music for years, and it makes little attempt to court outside listeners. Fans, rejoice; others, kindly move along.
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AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey