Nothing is more satisfying than when a band that you have nurtured through its early years finally makes good on its unspoken promise to make you look like a genius every time you recommended its early records. “Yeah, of course I knew they were going to be huge, Bleach is an amazing album … ” What an asshole. But it does warm my heart to see Wheat evolve into every bit the band critics and fans thought it could be. Per second, per second, per second … every second clearly signals a serious evolution both musically and lyrically for the band.
Hope and Adams, 1999’s surprisingly good quasi lo-fi release, was a subtle mix of heartfelt prose and simple melodies. While it timidly experimented with some studio effects, the overall feeling was that of a simple pop-folk record. Per second, while in the same vein, is much more evolved. Smooth lyrics and melodic pop enable this trio from the Northeast to glide through 12 songs of pure mid-tempo magic. “These Are Things” starts off with the standard solo voice over piano and then slowly morphs into a blend of guitar and drum that simultaneously has the atmosphere of a mature U2 and the pop sensibility of They Might Be Giants. To be sure the record isn’t perfect, but as the genre goes, this is pretty damn good.
Wheat is clearly ready to take the next, next step, and don’t be surprised if you hear one of the new tracks from Per second in a commercial hawking mini-vans or during a poignant moment on the WB sometime soon. That’s not a slight either. Wheat is good enough and has worked hard enough make the Coldplay crossover to commercial radio and pop success. The real test will be to see what comes next …