Hope and Adams

Sugar Free

Many musicians stumble over the line that separates intelligent from incomprehensible, tragically overreaching their grasp and applying dynamics like cheap coats of paint. Wheat’s majestic string arrangements and softly insistent chord changes are one of the best blends of the orchestra and the rock combo since — well, I don’t want to curse the band with a reference to a Rock Masterpiece, but it really is that good.

“Don’t I Hold You” pulsates with gonging guitars while our protagonist enters his plea. In “San Diego,” the velvet-curtained rooms are haunted by intertwined factions of technological poltergeists and string-section specters. Each song’s unique character only serves to tantalize me into listening to the next one. Wheat’s careful plotting and subtle production make this one of those albums whose character is unreeled in months, not minutes.

It’s sensitive, and it’s rock, and it’s not sensitive rock. Find a comfortable chair and spend some melancholy time with Hope and Adams .

Sugar Free Records, P.O. Box 14166, Chicago, IL 60614

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