Songs of rambling, inscrutable faith, and devotion


Oh, the poor Kathys of this world. Like the Sharonas, Michelles, Lucilles, Jennifers, Belindas, Julies, Windys, Suzie Qs, Loreleis, Maybellenes, Lindas, Eleanors, and other ladies name-checked in songs by Jad Fair, Daniel Johnston, and a busload of other guitar-slinging would-be swains, soon any Kathy within shouting distance of the Boston indie-rock scene (from whence Wheat hails) just might find herself buried under an avalanche of devotional one-inch squares of . . . something.

Just what those little squares might be is anyone’s guess, as is the identity and significance of Kathy herself. Wheat’s inscrutable love offering is a rough assemblage of meandering tunes that seem more like demos than finished recordings: Voices (often a tonally challenged falsetto), lyrical keyboards, and stray noises drift in and out, while song structure is sacrificed to rambling drones and incantatory phrasing, and melodies skew toward the rudimentary and unresolved. Wheat’s scrappy though sometimes endearing fourth album is clearly a stylistic protest against their only major-label release, 2003’s bland, vexed, much-delayed-by-Sony Per Second, Per Second, Per Second . . . Every Second. Good for them! Now that they’ve got this aesthetic rebellion out of their systems, perhaps Wheat will make another record as beautifully melancholic and—dare we say it?—catchy and memorable as 1999’s entrancing and still superior Hope & Adams. If we were the praying sort, we’d even make a few squares.

Wheat play the Mercury Lounge June 3,