The Wharves, “The Grip”

Louis Pattison

By Louis Pattison

International Editor
on 10.01.14 in Listen to This

The Wharves begin “The Grip” with all the mordant seriousness of a Victorian seance, their clear, keening harmonies brought to bear on a lyric about past lives and former selves that sends long-buried thoughts eddying darkly to the surface. But if there’s a slight hey-nonny quality to this London trio’s folk-rock, there’s leanness and grit here, too; a grrrl bite to the voices that recalls Sleater-Kinney, a distinct thorniness to Dearbhla Minogue’s tangled guitar. And by the end, “The Grip” feels like something else altogether — a message to a former friend or ex-lover that lands like a threat, or a hex: “You think you’re better off being alone?”