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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Wheat
Everyday I Said a Prayer for Kathy and Made a One Inch Square
Empyrean

Rating: 8.5/10 ?


May 18, 2007
Wheat. Just saying that word, preceded by a deep breath, is soothing. It reminds me of a scene from Woody Allen's Love and Death, in which he and Diane Keaton repeat "Wheat. All there is in life: wheat" for no particular reason, other than the Woodman's eclectic sense of humor. So it's a fitting name for a Massachusetts band that was originally conceived as an art project by two students, Scott Levesque and Brendan Harney, in the late Nineties. The band has had a low-key career curve, garnering critical acclaim, but also suffering from label mishaps, culminating in a hiatus after their third release and rumors that the band had broken up. (An eerily similar story to fellow Eastern-Seaboard artists Wrens). Well, fans of Wheat may now take a deep breath: a decade after forming, they are back, and the resulting record is well worth the wait.

Wheat's previous albums have had cryptic titles, and their latest continues the tradition - Everyday I Said a Prayer for Kathy and Made a One Inch Square. Harney explains, "It's about remembering through a ritual. We lose things we love, sometimes, in life. People turn corners and things change, and we try to remember. We make art, but art becomes stylized. Then we decide to make a square, simply to remember. Or hope, maybe." A touching and serene sentiment, which perfectly echoes the mood of the record through the eleven song set. And nothing captures this sentiment better than the opening track, "Closeness." A subdued voice over a lingering organ note yearns "I don't seem that close to you/ the closer you get." It builds into a repetitive cascade of "ahoo" before ending on a lone organ note, disarming and beautiful.

"Move=move" starts with a brushed snare and toy keyboard and the most perfect bubblegum chorus I've heard in a long time, including a sly nod to teen linguistics, "The things u love should b set free/ the things u love come naturally." "Round in the Corners" is a nice juxtaposition of world-weary words - "Worn down/ our corners are round" - accompanied by upbeat drums and slide guitar. Like most of the album, it's sung gingerly by Levesque, with perhaps a slight hint of fatigue. Similar in style to Jeff Tweedy, his voice can strike a sad tone, but always warms its way into the listener's heart. "An Exhausted Fixer" highlights the band's art leanings, mostly spoken word over strong drumming by Harney, peppered with a jubilant chorus and bright guitar leads. The record closes as discreetly as it opened with "Courting Ed Templeton," an instrumental piece of music and sound effects that tapers to a fading end.

A few months ago Wheat released an EP, That's Exactly What I Wanted... Exactly That, which shares just one song with the new long-player. Although it was a very solid five song collection, it didn't quite foretell the cohesiveness and poise of Everyday I Said a Prayer. As the album title suggests, this is a restorative effort, along the lines of Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and indeed both are releases from bands that were knocked down, but not out. Reconvening with Harney in 2005, without a label, Levesque recalls that "We were in that great spot again. We make records in our own little world, and that's where we went to." Everyday I Said a Prayer is the tranquil triumph.

Reviewed by Ari Shapiro
A staff writer for LAS, Ari Shapiro mixes up pretty unique smoothies at XOOM in hot Tucson.

See other reviews by Ari Shapiro

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