The Wharves – At Bay
Despite their London postcode, there’s an aching for space in The Wharves’ neatly put together vocal harmonies and muddy guitar chug. At Bay takes a largely minimalist route to attaining its encompassing sound; the pressing drumming of Marion Andrau is clutter-free, with guitar and vocal happy to chase each other around the same melodic paths on The Grip and Scarlet for Ya.
It’s maybe a coincidence that a mention of the city (“city has a faultline” in Faultline) yields their densest-sounding moment, the fleeting escape of earlier tracks pulled out like stuffing. Elsewhere, Ode A Jimmy has a touch of the pastoral, akin to Broadcast and The Focus Group’s investigations into 70s progressive folk, as The Wharves seek to coax the maximum from their basic elements. Unfortunately they don’t quite explore enough to warrant the record’s length of 13 tracks, although a rousing Mother Damnable towards its end does reward the extended journey of a debut with much to enjoy. [Simon Jay Catling]