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Reviewed: 3/12/2004 by Mike

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La Gorgola

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Band of Skulls

The third album and the first major label release for this Massachusetts three-piece, sees the band attempt to break away from their indie roots and traverse into contemporary pop territory. Formed in 1997, Wheat seems hell bent on breaking into the mainstream with a more upbeat tempo that goes some way at least to counter today’s melancholia. Heralded as one of the great independent bands with their experimental debut ‘Medieros’ and its predecessor ‘Hope and Adams’ ‘PSPSPS’ smacks of a band fed up with achieving critical acclaim without the reversal of anonymity. A craving for popularity seemingly oozes out of every pore. Produced by David Fridmann (Flaming Lips), the comparison with Brit rockers Coldplay immediately becomes apparent on the opener ‘I Met a Girl’, yet the song is commercial enough to detract from Wheat’s experimental embryonic beginnings. ‘Breathe’ follows suit with its dreamy quality, and in a somewhat contradictory use of terminology the low key nature of the whole affair becomes its forte, as simple songs like ‘These are Things and ‘Life Still Applies’ hit the sweet spot with their Brit pop come Bolan-esque peaks and troughs. On the downside ‘Hey So Long and the way too ambient ‘The Beginner’ flatter to deceive on an album that has it’s moments of contemporary pop mainstream without ultimately achieving its goal of elevating the band from their current cult status.

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