All style and no substance: Wheat proves stale

Everyone has met at least one of these people. Those kids in high school that stayed awake night after tireless night playing till the blisters on their newly experienced hands busted apart letting flow a sea of pent up desire to learn how to play the guitar like no one has ever heard. They took lessons at the local music store. They played at all the open mic nights around town and every time they had written a new song, every single one of their friends had to hear it … five or 10 times.

Those kids that could write a song in 15 minutes breaking many speed records but not even putting a dent in their audience. The music they made night after night had no originality, nothing amazing. It was a safe formula for songwriting … intro, verse, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, end.

Wheat is made up of three of those people, and lucky for us, they have found one another and succeeded in sounding like every band you have ever heard before.

While Wheat has many elements of a good rock and roll band; catchy hooks, mildly interesting vocal patterns, etc … they lack something of their own. Something almost every great band has. Some inherent trait that belongs only to them. The Doors had the poetry of Jim Morrison. The Talking Heads had the jitter of David Byrne. Radiohead has the pain of Thom Yorke. Wheat has terribly overused chord progressions, almost cheesy vocal lines and lyrics that amount to nothing.

In short Wheat is a band that we have all listened to a million times before. For instance take U2, Coldplay, Rubyhorse and Phantom Planet, add 2 cups of water, bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees and you have Wheat, a band that has stayed on the safe side of music not allowing themselves to explore their musical ability and talent.

The only saving grace of their new LP “per second, per second, per second, every second …” comes at the 14th minute and 25th second of the record. Track five, “Go Get The Cops,” is the only song on this record I truly had the urge to listen to more than two or three times. Otherwise the record unfolded itself right in front of my ears.

However, on the ethereal, endearing, emotional fifth track, Wheat builds on top of itself as the song progresses. Beginning with a very attractive harmony overtop a minimalist organ line, the song slowly adds more and more bringing drums, keyboards, guitars and ultimately a wonderfully swooping string section. One that almost dances through the facade of this song.

Sadly enough, “Go Get The Cops” is truly the only worthwhile moment on this new album. The remaining eleven songs are so forgettable that the last seven songs couldn’t pass quickly enough. So if, like me, you need something new and different to appreciate, leave this one alone. However, if you know your formula, go pick it up … it’ll still be the same.