The Wharves come from loads of different places and combine a kind of fuzzed out folk and minimal psych which is comparable to both of Kim Deal's post Pixies projects (the Breeders and the Amps) as well as Sleater Kinney. They mix three part harmonies and elements of progressive 70s folk with their lo-fi song craft for a bold and entertaining third album.
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The Wharves are a three piece spread over the whole of the grey slab of land we know as the UK. They make pretty enjoyable spindly guitar rock that reminds me of early Warpaint in all their inconsequential vagueness.
It’s a nice sound - kind of raw but tuneful with guitars working around each other but the opening couple of tracks kind of worry me. First up ‘The Strike’ passes me but without me even knowing it is on. Second ‘Rays of Light’ by trying a soaring melody falls flat on it’s face a couple of times as they stretch themselves out of the moody minimal rock that they are pretty good at. ‘John the Stitcher’ too aims initially at pinching post punk before a runaway chorus breaks out which sounds like it is being chased by the band as it runs out of control. Things are much better when the band stay minimal and slowly build up a creepy mood. This happens on ‘L’autre’ which crawls along eerily somewhere between PIL and the Slits channeling ‘Spiderland’.
Elsewhere there is just something lacking in dynamics which prevents tracks like ‘Old Friend’ from taking flight. What initially sounds like the Aislers Set minimising their sound to Young Marble Giants level of quietude slams into a chorus that fails to convince. The harmonies are lovely and there is plenty here for fans of Sleater Kinney and that first Stealing Sheep record but the sheer ambition of some of these tracks coupled with the mid-fi production seems to destroy some of the taut moods the band are more than capable of producing.
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