Das aus Baltimore, Maryland, stammende Duo veröffentlicht diese Woche mit "Shriek" sein viertes Album und wird dieses unter anderem beim diesjährigen Maifeld Derby live vorstellen.
Opener ‘Before’ sees Wye Oak’s new found growth come to fruition, not only instrumentally, but also vocally. Where previous albums If Children and The Knot branded the duo as indie-folk, 2011s Civilian pushed them towards the shoegaze direction. But with Shriek, Wye Oak seem to have the blend just right; delving in and out of both genres while dealing with loss and empowerment. Tracks 'The Tower', 'Sick Talk' and 'School of Eyes' showcase the bands ultimate development from gritty, atmospheric indie-rock by using loud and quiet dynamics that are elegant in timing.
Title track 'Shriek' is a dreamy soundscape that is mirrored by 'Glory', whose choruses are eloquently harmonised to the point that you cant help but sing along. They may not be anthemic in stature, but the somber tones and punchy, synthed beats from Stack are unavoidably infectious. What is striking about this album is its mood is almost in two parts; the first five tracks dark and ethereal, while the second half snaps back to the optimism of the records opener. Both 'Despicable Animal' and 'Paradise' host Haim-esc thumping drums that create an inescapable atmosphere, while the latter takes full advantage of Wasner’s dreamy vocals. Paired with some racing keyboard playing from Stack, 'Paradise' feels as though it’s about to explode at any moment, only to fall into an abyss of chorale dreaminess.
To close the album is echoing, 'Logic in Colour', its poetic lyrics as catchy as the lighthearted backing they're formed on, while Wasner’s soothing vocals match that of 1970s legend Karen Carpenter. For me, it’s the highlight of the record, and has been on repeat at least ten times a day since Shriek popped into my inbox.
Shriek could well be a befitting soundtrack to the start of this year’s summer, and will definitely take pride of place in my top albums of the year. Wye Oak has created something whose mood and mysterious beauty pushes past the hybrid label and comes into its own. While it’s steeped in ethereal dreaminess, it is also fun and jovial: a true delight for any hazy afternoon.
Wye Oak in Deutschland:
30.05.14 Immergut Festival, Neustrelitz
01.06.14 Maifeld Derby, Mannheim
02.06.14 Studio 672, Köln
03.06.14 Prinzenbar, Hamburg
04.06.14 Lido, Berlin
05.06.14 Strom, München