Wheat Everyday I Said a Prayer for Kathy and Made a One Inch Square

An interesting indie phenomenon is hidden within the story of Wheat. Coming to everyone’s attention and placing on many critics’ charts in 2000 with their still-incredible effort Hope & Adams, they made a good chunk of fans with their short, idiosyncratic, layered art pop. The dreaded sophomore slump and label trouble followed, rendering their last effort somewhat unmemorable due to the unnatural gloss and normalness. Luckily, when you’ve hit rock bottom the only place to go is up and Wheat have recaptured lightening in a bottle with this awkwardly named endeavour. "Closeness” is damn near the best thing they’ve done, with its triumphant climax of Scott Levesque’s warming "Oooos” and drummer Brendan Harney’s ringing cymbal crashes. It seems they’ve finally learned how to maintain the magic of Hope & Adams but draw it out a little fuller. "Little White Dove” uses the time-honoured handclaps to keep things light and fun, while closer "Courting Ed Templeton” is an ambient instrumental achievement. Things always seem a little shambolic with Wheat, and most of the songs possess a ragged feel but that’s where their strength resides. It’s not perfect but at least they can hold their heads high again. (Empyrean)