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Any late-'90s band that refuses to pose for photo shoots, include the names of its members in its liner notes, or abstains for almost any type of promotion better have the goods to back up its stance. For the most part Wheat does. Borrowing from two decades worth of alternative rock (including Brit-pop, ambient, shoegazer rock, and even a touch of No Depression), Hope and Adams revels in its own brand of detached melancholy and describes a world (or a small piece of one at least) populated by souls who feel they are far more important than they really are.
Across 14 tracks Wheat gives us well-constructed crunchy rock songs ("Raised Ranch Revolution"), as well as some curious soundscapes ("Body Talk Part 1"), and a handful of elegantly infectious pop exercises. The sparse, often inscrutable lyrics tell brief and sometimes uncomfortable tales. Co-producer Dave Fridmann (of Mercury Rev) doesn't quite reign all the loose, tattered ends into a cohesive whole, but regardless, this is an impressive debut. The fact that we have no image of what this band is or who they are makes the dusty, dark corners of Hope and Adams all the more intriguing. Certainly a band to watch.