Head here to submit your own review of this album.

The most striking thing about London based trio The Wharves, whether it is on record or in their live show, is their knack of combining two lead voices. On paper they are a standard indie-rock trio, comprising Dearbhla Minogue (guitar), Gemma Fleet (bass) and Marion Androu (drums), but in reality they manage to create a lush mix of gently psychedelic folk-influenced music without losing sight of the pop sensibilities of '60s girl-groups and garage rock.

At Bay is their debut full length album, and it manages to blend that rich mix of influences whilst retaining an identity of its own, largely due to some crafty songwriting and the way Dearbhla and Gemma's voices weave around the melodies.

From the band name and the title, there is an obvious nautical theme, which they have taken to a logical conclusion by recording the album at Rory Attwell's Lightship95 studio, which is a recording studio on an actual boat, moored at a wharf in east London. Tracks like 'The Grip' and the gentler 'Step On' take this literally as the music ebbs and flows and the minimal arrangements turn into something more enticing.

There are some straight forward rock songs here too of course. 'Faultline' is grunge, 'By Hook or By Crook' and 'Stir' plunder the same garage rock influences as the Fall, whilst on the rowdy opener 'Left Right and Centre' they come across as a pure power trio.

'Scarlet for Ya' contrasts a simple guitar riff with some soaring vocal melodies and it all interweaves beautifully, coming across like a Pixies surfing song transplanted to a choppy English coastline.

The first single, 'Renew', is based around a driving riff and a repeated one-word refrain, yet what makes it special is the ghostly counter melody.

They swap instruments for 'Ode a Jimmy', which is in waltz time and is a very interesting side step, sung in French by drummer Marion Androu, who takes lead vocal and also plays guitar and organ, whilst Dearbhla plays drums.

'The Crane' is a folk song, a ballad in the traditional sense, yet it has that mix of folk and psych that recalls the likes of Arthur Lee's Love. 'Mother Damnable' is a folky tale of a 'prodigal son' and is a glorious mix of influences, complete with haunted Shangri Las style chorus and some powerhouse drumming! Closing track 'First Day Back' is another one which builds gently, with more of those spooked vocals and some great understated guitar playing.

An interesting paradox of the Wharves is that whilst they appear like a regular indie-rock trio they are anything but straightforward. Those folk leanings are strong and make easy comparisons invalid. They are more like the Amps than the Breeders, more like Mary Timony's Helium than Sleater-Kinney. In fact the vocal lines of Dearbhla and Gemma blend folk and pop in a similar way to those of Grumbling Fur, although they sound nothing like them.

At Bay is a musically rich and varied debut which proves that you can still do a lot with guitar, bass and drums when you have as much imagination as these three.

This is the place you'll find reviews from 405 Readers. To join in, head here.