Baltimore duo, Wye Oak, aka Jenn Wasner (vocals, bass) and Andy Stack (keys, percussion) are set to release their fourth full-length album, Shriek, on Tuesday, April 29th via Merge Records. After a heavy touring schedule in support of their 2011 buzzworthy record, Civilian, they found themselves living in opposite ends of the country. Despite being physically distanced, they were certainly not musically apart. The duo set aside the heavy guitar riffs and indie-folk labels, markers of their past, in order to fully immerse themselves in the softer side of synths and the underrated wonders of bass. This powerfully new concoction was slow to grow on me at first, as the album is very subtle in its approach to commanding your attention. Ultimately, it settles down perfectly as a soundtrack for letting yourself get lost in your own thoughts and diving deep into the crevices of your mind, yet your body still finds a cathartic release in its physical reaction of swaying arms and bobbing heads. Shriek is the album that allows you to lose yourself in the music, in order to find yourself.
Why We Dig Them: When a band goes in a different direction with their sound, sometimes the results are good and sometimes they’re not so good. Regardless, we often don’t give bands enough credit for stepping outside of their comfort zone and trying something new. Kudos to Wye Oak for treading outside the boundaries of their previously guitar-centric world, and doing so without ever losing their confident presence.
Best Songs: “The Tower” is the first single off of Shriek and it doesn’t surprise me as it feels like the most attention-grabbing song on the album. The 80s throwback track is off kilter, weirdly engaging, and you may find yourself secretly wishing that your dance skills were up to par, so that you could join the diverse dance troupe that appears in the music video (see below).
“Glory” is upbeat, with a bass groove that is infectious. Jenn Wasner’s vocals, breathy with a hint of raspiness, lure you in with each carefully crafted and sung word, held and released at the mercy of her discerning tongue, whilst never feeling over the top.
Three Words to Describe Wye Oak: Reflective — Introspective — Renewal
Upcoming Shows w/ Pattern is Movement:
7/09: Belly Up Tavern – Solana Beach
7/10: El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles
Words: Emily Saex