It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since the Massachusetts indie-rock act Wheat released its breakthrough LP, Hope And Adams. In the decade since, bandleader Scott Levesque has led Wheat through an unhappy foray into the mainstream, followed by a furtive retreat to obscurity. But until now, with Wheat’s new album, White Ink, Black Ink, Levesque hasn’t been able to re-approximate the winning blend of fragmentary songwriting, rolling textures, and yearning melodies that made Hope And Adams a critical favorite. White Ink, Black Ink is a more confident record than the faltering 2007 LP Everyday I Said A Prayer, which felt at times like Levesque trying to re-learn his own sound. On tracks like White Ink, Black Ink’s “Changes Is” and “My Warning,” Wheat layers skittering percussion, slashing guitars, and fizzy sonic effects under Levesque’s vigorous, hooky shouting, creating songs that come off as deconstructed but soaring. White Ink, Black Ink feels a little underdeveloped at times, as though Levesque had a few strong choruses, and nothing substantial to support them. But the whole album is finished in just over 30 minutes, which means the rough patches don’t linger, while the highs do.
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