I hadn't heard Wheat when that album was first released. Their debut CD, Medeiros, was very good, but less realized than the second, and though it got press, it was by no means a hit. No bio information accompanied it--they didn't even allow for a traditional whose-it/ what's-it on the inside of the CD sleeve. It was perhaps a strategic move on the label's part, designed to baffle journalists who, en masse, of course, scurried impetuously to write about the Next Big Thing that Wheat were likely to be. Consequently, Wheat did well, but not Next Big Thing well.
Hope and Adams, the follow-up, was anything but sophomoric, and it has done a little better for the band. But it's a horribly beautiful record that could easily be cross-played anywhere from WARM 106.9 to KCMU, because though the formula is indie, the aesthetics are perfectly transcendent.
I got drunk, because I'd just been dumped, when I first listened to Hope and Adams. "Don't I Hold You?" is the title of the third track. I started crying like a baby.
Though I've since reconciled with the break-up, I haven't yet with Wheat, though I'm not sure why that is. They're special, but not earth-shattering: smart, melodic, sad, honest.... It's not that their lyrics are stunning. Nor is it that the music is revolutionary or inventive.
I took Hope and Adams into a bar when I felt high on emotion, no longer wanting to be alone. I got myself further trashed, went up to the DJ, and asked him to play track three. It was either my conviction or beer breath--the poor bastard probably just wanted me out of his booth--but he quickly consented to playing it. Song three began: "Don't I hold you like you wanna be held/and don't I treat you like you want/and don't I love you like you wanna be loved/ and you're running away...." It occurred to me immediately that everyone else in the bar was moved also, and listening.