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Hope And Adams

Source : CD   Released: 1999   Company: Sugar Free Records

(From the original Sugar Free Records site)
Wheat was Ricky Brennan, Brendan Harney, Scott Levesque and Me, Kenny Madaras. First, there was Scott and Brendan. Then there was Scott, Brendan and Mike Flood. Then there was Scott, Brendan, Mike Flood and Kevin Camara. Then there was Scott, Brendan, Mike, Kevin and Ricky Brennan. Then there was Scott, Brendan, Mike, and Ricky. Then there was Scott, Brendan, Mike, Ricky and Me, Kenny. Then there was Scott, Brendan, Ricky and Me. Then there was Scott, Brendan, Ricky, Tony Amaral and Me. Then there was Scott, Brendan, Ricky and Me. Then there was Scott, Brendan, Ricky, Rick Lescault and Me. Then there was Scott, Brendan, Ricky and Me.

We recorded in Scott's bedroom. We went to London. Our rehearsal space was flooded and we didn't play for a month or two. We recorded with Dave Auchenbach in Providence, RI. We didn't play in Detroit. We took an overnight casino ferry to play in Nova Scotia, where we saw God Speed You Black Emperor. We bought hats in Texas. We were Gerl when we played at Mama Kin. We played at Chris Seekell's birthday party. We recorded during the winter with Dave Fridmann, and Michael Ivins. We drank tea and had toast with marmite upstairs from the art gallery in Pittsburgh. I don't think anyone liked it when we only played for 20 minutes in New York, and Scott and Brendan literally argued on stage. We drank with the Grifters at Princeton, and they thought I stole their whiskey. We mixed our first record, Medeiros with Brian Deck at Kingsize in Chicago, and Mike was always on the phone.

Hope and Adams is now available
Now Wheat is Brendan, Scott and Ricky.

Wheat recorded their second album, Hope and Adams, at Tarbox Road Studios in Cassadaga, NY. The record was co-produced, recorded and mixed by Dave Fridmann , assisted by Michael Ivins, and mastered by Jeff Lipton.

Artwork | Lyrics

1. This Wheat   1:51
2. Slow Fade   1:39
3. Don't I Hold You   3:50 Artwork
4. Raised Ranch Revolution   4:42 Artwork
5. San Diego   2:51
6. No One Ever Told Me   2:16
7. Be Brave   4:17
8. Who's The One   4:40
9. Off The Pedestal   3:11
10. And Someone With Strengths   3:50
11. Body Talk (Part 1)   2:35
12. Body Talk (Part 2)   3:08
13. More Than You'll Ever Know   2:52
14. Roll The Road   2:13
15. Flat Black (bonus track)   3:20
16. Headphone Recorder (bonus track)   3:04
17. New Boyfriend (bonus track)   2:52
-----------------------------------
Total Time: 53:11




From the original City Slang website:

Back in August 1998, when NME made WHEAT's debut European release their Single Of The Week, the news was so unexpected that their local paper back in Massachusetts ran a news story about the award! Although their album Medeiros had already been released in the US, it had been largely unheralded. But the limited edition 'Death Car' seven inch - issued on London's Easy!Tiger Records - sold out within a week, and when Medeiros was finally released in the UK it was greeted with rapture. Little was known about the (then) four piece from Taunton, Massachussetts. They weren't really into doing interviews. There was no bio as such. Their album contained no information apart from a track listing and a series of numbers (whose significance is still unknown). To the band, none of this information seemed relevant, especially since they weren't even sure whether they would make a second album.

But they did. And it is likely that you won't hear a more emotive and subtle record all year. Like Medeiros, HOPE AND ADAMS takes a little time to reveal itself, but only a little extra effort opens the mind to unforgettable melodies and what British daily newspaperThe Independent memorably described as 'lazy brilliance'. It's in the way that Scott Levesque lifts a line like 'Your love is a parking lot' into the realms of poetry, or the way that 'Who's The One' opens with delicately picked chords which then ease effortlessly into a blissful mantra within four minutes. It's in the way the drums kick back half way through 'Off The Pedestal', and in the way the piano creeps into the coda of 'Body Talk (Part One)'. If you need one single instance of the brilliance of WHEAT, however, settle for 'Don't I Hold You', as sublime a song as one can hope to encounter, and one that is destined to seal itself forever into the hearts of all who hear it. Although WHEAT are far from one of those bands with nothing to say, they have the confidence (and the songs) to let the music persuade you first.

Produced by Dave Fridmann (Mercury Rev, Flaming Lips, Mogwai), HOPE AND ADAMS is full of the kind of songs that most bands spend a lifetime trying to write. On top of that, the recorded versions only hint at what awaits audiences. Live, WHEAT perform as an ensemble rather than a band, with a chemistry that allows songs to develop and flourish in the most passionate fashion. Their two UK shows so far saw them perform in a circle, feeding off each other's off-the-cuff interpretations of songs to an ecstatic response from two packed audiences. It was in fact these two shows that convinced them that the live experience was worthwhile. Until then, shows had been sporadic and few and far between.

There is a charisma in their understated delivery as well as in the band themselves that touches all who come into contact with them. There's no rock 'n' roll excess here, no cheap thrills or fancy frills, but instead a magical quality that defies description. Maybe it's the way the band choose to let their mistakes become part of the band's reality, or the way they're prepared to let a song run its natural course, whether it be ninety seconds or six minutes. Maybe it's the vulnerability of Scott Levesque's vocals, Brendan Harney's restrained drumming, Ricky Brennan's gorgeous guitar lines, the subtle dynamics overall... whatever, it's effective, to say the least.

WHEAT was formed by college friends Scott Levesque and Brendan Harney. The two were joined by Ricky Brennan and they began to explore recording. They prided themselves on using the cheapest equipment they could find. Their first kick drum was bought at a Salvation Army. Touring wasn't something they thought a lot about or particularly enjoyed. In fact, they only played about a week's worth of dates in support of Medeiros.

HOPE AND ADAMS won't blow you away. WHEAT won't take you on a dark journey into the innermost psyche of pre-millenial angst. They certainly won't flash their washboard stomachs at photographers. They probably won't even remind you of anyone in particular. But over the course of time HOPE & ADAMS will become one of those records that you don't know how you did without. If you can come up with one record more poignant, more expressive, more memorable, more moving, more riveting, more delicate, more honest or more glorious, then we want to know what it is. Because it is our deepest belief that records like this don't come by very often.

REVIEWS

CMJ New Music Report - October 1999
Upon the release of Wheat's 1997 Sugar Free debut, Medeiros, the Massachusetts four-piece's languid and emotionally blistered rock caught the ears of many critics and fans in Boston and beyond. To make Hope And Adams, the group, now pared down to a trio, hired producer Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mogwai, Mercury Rev) to fine-tune the atmospheric and elegiac nuances within its music. Having recorded the album in just two weeks, the band makes the most of its slight sonic imperfections and misshapen sound effects, both of which only enhance the carefully measured, yet disarming quality of tracks such as the pensive "San Diego." That song and the steady, lushly crackling "Don't I Hold You" keenly display vocalist/guitarist Scott Levesque's bruised lyrical style, which often deals with post-relationship anguish, or dramatic dream-like visions. His words grow more effective as the musical arrangements become sparser. Through a hazy mix of simple, whispering instrumentation, Levesque makes such unusual analogies as "Your love is a tow away zone/No parking unless you're willing to pay the fine" that further intensify the album's thought-provoking and haunting, emotional underbelly.

Stomp And Stammer Record Reviews - February 2000
More slanted-and-enchanted than wide swing tremolo, Hope and Adams, the third installment of Wheat's stellar sonic triad, came into fruition after several thousand lineup changes (first there was vocalist Scott Levesque and drummer Brendan Harney; then there were the latter two plus Mike Flood; then there was the latter three and Kevin Camara; after a few more shifts Wheat is now down to Harney, Levesque and guitarist Ricky Brennan). Fragrant with dreamy warmth and lush production, Hope and Adams is the kind of record you wish would go on forever. Most of its 14 fully-realized, artfully-executed cuts -- especially the harmonious "Slow Fade" and "Be Brave" -- could easily go on and linger for a few more measures without wearing out their welcomes. Each track is, in its own way, an adventure in euphony. A rare thing, it seems, in contemporary pop, but a precious find when it happens -- especially when created with such casual aplomb as Wheat's. Think Goo Goo Dolls (with talent), Son Volt (with balls) or the Wallflowers (with talent and balls) -- fused with a Pavement-like pop and an Elephant Six-ish flair for experimentation and eccentric instrumental passages. Gen-X whiteboy angst colors Wheat's songs to a certain extent ("I'm brain dead at 27/ No one ever mended my lumps and bruises and now it's hard to breathe through a broken nose"), but they never stoop to the whiny pissiness that would compel you to heave your stereo out the window with Hope and Adams still spinning. But the true high point comes near the disc's end: Cloaked in a thick, dusty drape of staticky fuzz, drums thundering and Levesque's drone mixed down to a scarcely-discernable level, "More Than You'll Ever Know" is the best portrait of extramarital-liaison fallout since Crowded House's "Into Temptation." A stunning listen. (PO Box 14166, Chicago, IL 60614) --Susan Moll

The Austin Chronicle - December 1999
Underneath the lo-fi fašade of Hope and Adams, the second full-length release from Boston-based trio Wheat, is a straightforward and unabashed exercise in pop songcraft that's as refined as it is scabrous, as accessible as it is elaborate. Simple and time-tested melody and structure are encased in the moody trappings of slow and quiet indie rock. Where this differs from someone like Acetone or Songs: OHIA, with whom Wheat often garner comparison, is in the use of and eventual utter surrender to pretty pop melodies, as well as in the balancing of the upbeat and the ponderous. Wheat shares more musically with Wilco, of late, than they do with any of the more moody and sensitive soft- or emocore practitioners. If it isn't already, "Don't I Hold You" should be in some pretty heavy rotation on most alternative rock radio stations across the country and beyond, while "Off the Pedestal" would sound right at home on a Folk Implosion album. The slow here is never too slow, the distorted and departed never too far gone. It's familiar and it's fun, the sadness that sweet kind that makes you smile as you sniffle.

In Music We Trust - June 2000
With slick, over-produced pop music filling the airwaves, new breeds of musicians have begun to re-claim the pop throne and give it a just treatment. Wheat is one of these bands; their latest, Hope and Adams is a luxurious pop record that takes you back to the days when gentle melodies, lo-fi recordings, and attention to melodies mattered.
The gentle hum of the organ on the opener, "This Wheat," sets the mood for the album, a mood that is sunny and serene, filled with optimism and bright-eyed happiness. The lazy, fresh-from-a-sleep vocals on give the album a relaxed feel, as the pitter-patter percussion trickles throughout the music, giving it a soft, bouncy freedom. The tender glide of guitars hums, while the impressionable bass goes with the flow.
The band is able to deliver a steady rocker with luscious vocal harmonies and catchy hooks ("Raised Ranch Revolution"); make your head spin with a crunchy, jumpy lo-fi trip ("No One Ever Told Me"); or effectively make your heart stop as you stand still and follow every note with precision ("Who's The One"). From the slithering shake of "Off The Pedestal" to the gentle trickling of melody on "Body Talk (part 1)" and "Body Talk (part 2)", Wheat delivers lush lo-fi pop music that can make you shake one minute and then have you holding your breath in silence the next. Hope and Adams is a warm, optimistic album with elements of fog covering it throughout. I'll give it an A-.
By: Alex Steininger

Muse - 2000
Nestling in the previously obscure middle ground between Jay Mascis, Tortoise and Tom Petty, "Hope and Adams" is a strange yet strong collection of modern day rock songs. "This Wheat" and "Slow Fade" open the album, setting out the stall for what follows, the former a gentle instrumental, mellow yet rocking, the latter a manifesto of sorts with the lines "we're only trying to do our thing". That "thing" becomes increasingly personal as the album develops, the anonymous singer detailing some of the intimacies of his existence: the good love, the bad love and the disillusion in between. Songs slip by like diary entries - obscure yet revelatory and all too brief. A certain wistfulness pervades the album - "funny how it always gets away" - but there is the strength which comes from acceptance too: "and one and one and one is yesterday" they sing on "Who's The One". There are some flaws here: the recording can sound a bit rushed sometimes and the playing is not always as tightly locked-in together as it could be. But these are very minor quibbles and there are no real weak spots on this album. Indeed there are some truly beautiful parts, most notably the musical triptych of "And Someone With Strengths" and "Body Talk (Parts One And Two)". But that's are not all; the record is replete with powerful moments like "Don't I Hold You", "Be Brave", and "No One Ever Told Me". With this smouldering, slow-burning album, Wheat have created a concise and emotive evocation of the vulnerable male psyche. A minor masterpiece.
- Lee Casey

Pitchfork Media - 2000
Rating: 7.6

The 60-watt soft glow of Wheat's second full- length gently pushes you in the back with two palms. But this is an encouraging push-- not an annoying push-- into fields of amber organs, where crystalline spires of guitar rise into a sky of matte, reachable teal. Atmosphere is pumped courtesy of Mercury Rev's Dave Fridmann, who appears to be taking it upon himself to produce every band that makes writers spit "fields," "crystalline," "glow," and "...like the Flaming Lips." Wheat and Adams oozes subtle, if not innocuous, indie rock tricks, blended into a homogenous, hotdog/tofu- like (depending on your eating dietary philosophy consistency. While restraint and understatement create a dreamy weave, the unwavering mood and pace offer few disappointments-- and few standout moments. If anything, Wheat takes consistency almost to a fault.

Hope and Adams hovers in the air like a hypnotic zeppelin, but you can follow the tethering cables down to the ground where the Flaming Lips, Pavement, Wilco, and the American Analog Set lazily hold on, uninterested, sitting in lawn chairs and smoking cigarettes. At high volumes, the trembling synths and bass pleasantly rattle your teeth like chewing on aluminum foil. Even if the songs all follow the pattern of "tightly waft along at a medium pace until sax/ droning guitar/ piano/ strings drop the improvised hook," Wheat's suddenly pleasantly in front of the pack thanks to large, lily- white sails. "More Than You'll Ever Know" is the most lovely piece of distortion you're likely to hear, but it leads into the unfortunate "Roll the Road," which sounds precisely like the Flaming Lips doing a new age version of Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'." Bands like Wheat never become one's favorite band, but they'll remind you of all groups to whom you do pray.

-Brent DiCrescenzo