Sunday, May 15, 2011

REVIEW: Wye Oak - Civilian

Along the lines of artists like Centro-matic and Sparklehorse, Wye Oak traverses the line between carefully-assembled, really beautiful acoustic rock music and equally gorgeous (to my ears, at least) feedback-filled squalls of electric guitar, with some truly spectacular leads.

Throughout, Jenn Wasner's vocals are well-sung and very well-recorded. And like Centro-matic (I promise, this is both an apt comparison and a compliment), the drummer, Andy Stack, plays a huge role in anchoring the music. Check out his drumming on "Dog's Eyes", and the great keyboard work on the title track when it really gets rolling.

I liked this record when I first heard it, but have liked it more with each additional listen. If every song rocked as hard as "Holy, Holy" this would still be a spectacular record... but the variety in volume and tempo make things even more interesting, really make the record a little stickier. .

Here's the video for track 6, "Fish":

Wye Oak - Fish (Official Video) from City Slang on Vimeo.

And here's the title track with a link to their Bandcamp page:

Sometimes I will happen upon a band and develop an instant affinity for their style... such is the case here. And to discover the extent of their back catalog: two albums, 2008's If Children and 2009's The Knot, plus a 2010 EP My Neighbor, My Creator... well, that's an added pleasure and makes me all the more excited about this band. If you like good, honest, well-crafted rock that doesn't mind cranking up the guitars, check this out and spread the word. Wye Oak deserves to have more than just an "indie" audience.

Wye Oak website at Merge Records

Wye Oak Homepage

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