Memory plays a crucial role in the music of Wheat, one of the most enigmatic and compelling rock bands of the past decade. And never more profoundly has the theme, the *act*, of remembering played so critical a role in the making of that music than on the Massachusetts outfit’s stunning new Empyrean Records CD, “Everyday I Said A Prayer For Kathy And Made A One Inch Square.” Even the album’s cryptic title, drummer Brendan Harney explains, is “about remembering through a ritual. We lose things we love, sometimes, in life. People turn corners and things change … Then we decide to make a square, simply to remember – or hope, maybe.” Wheat’s fourth full-length album, and the core of the band itself, is about all of those things.
What began 10 years ago as a brilliant art project in sound between Harney and Scott Levesque (vocals, guitar) at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth (where both were, in fact, art students) has now been restored to its beginnings, original luster intact. From the celestial shimmer of “Closeness,” which opens the new album, to the pastoral instrumental poem, “Courting Ed Templeton,” which closes it, “Everyday I Said A Prayer …” marks a splendid return to the incandescent form that yielded Wheat’s bumper crop of masterworks that included 1997’s “Medeiros,” and 1999’s indie-pop gem, “Hope and Adams.”
2003’s “Per Second, Per Second, Per Second … Every Second” represented the band’s foray into the major label sweepstakes – a stint which brought with it heavy touring, high-profile TV appearances, and ultimately, misery. Second guitarist Ricky Brennan bade the band farewell. Exhausted and disillusioned, Wheat retreated into a long silence. Rumors that the band had broken up were not so quiet. “We just needed a break,” recalls Levesque. Adds Harney: “We had to decide what we wanted (Wheat) to be.”
Eventually, the two old friends, restless to make music again, re-convened between the summers of 2005 and 2006 to try out some new tracks, just to see where the songs and ideas might lead. They had no label. They had no recording schedule. They had no deadlines. But they remembered the old rituals, and in doing so, discovered they were able to reclaim the supernal sound, ineffable chemistry, and music-magic of Wheat. “We were in that great spot again,” says Levesque. “We make records in our own little world, and that’s where we went to.” It was, and continues to be, a luminescent universe gilded with dreams and benedictions and cosmic imagination. Now at long last, with “Everyday I Said A Prayer …”, Wheat has returned and is back among us in our world, right where it belongs.
– Jonathan Perry, 2007
- Medeiros (1997, Sugar Free)
- Hope & Adams (1999, Sugar Free)
- Per Second, Per Second, Per Second … Every Second(2003, Sony)
- That’s Exactly What I Wanted…Exactly That CD mini-album (EMPYREAN)
- Everyday I Said a Prayer For Kathy And Made A Once Inch Square CD/LP (2007, EMPYREAN)
- Move=Move 2XCD (2008, EMPYREAN)