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the wheat patch
Artist: Brown Shoe
Label: independent 
Length: 12 tracks/ 58:06

Gentle, alt-rock melodies and dreamlike vocals form the basis for Brown Shoe’s new release.  This is a record big on atmospherics – strong doses of melancholy and quiet meditation predominate the wheat patch, and while many moments within the record reach very close to being emotionally stirring, the wheat patch doesn’t quite hit the emotional peak it strives for.
the wheat patch isn’t without beauty, nor is the artist lacking in talent.  Take the incredibly pretty “Northern Lights” as a prime example, which slides together drifting indie-rock and a loping, sweet melody over a stretch of some of the records most impressive five minutes.  Unfortunately, the wheat patch becomes a bit too repetitive in later sections, and while its rainy-day mood never fails to come across strongly, more singular, memorable songs might have helped inject a more engaging feel to the record.  As it is, the wheat patch remains only partially interesting over its hour-long length, and it could become difficult for listeners to stick with it to the end.
While the wheat patch attempts to grasp and pull the listeners’ heartstrings, the most heartbreaking thing about the wheat patch is how close it comes to actually doing so.  This is a good effort, no doubt, and the wheat patch doesn’t fail to show off the strengths of this dreamy indie-rock outfit.  But it also contains a couple weaknesses which detain it from being an outright success.  Brown Shoe, as we can tell in the record’s good spots, is capable of something very good, and could still release a great record in the future.

Jonathan Avants 7/23/06


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