REVIEW: Wye Oak – “Civilian”

Wye Oak / Civilian / Merge Records

It’s rather hard to swallow the fact Baltimore two-gender duo Wye Oak have released two albums which have virtually gone unnoticed. Not to say it’s a bad thing; every artist doesn’t have to be bashed to death with the term “buzz band”. But amidst the proficient arrangements, warped riffs and blasts of distortion on Civilian, Wye Oak expose a sense of talent that could easily overpower rival artists in a fist fight. The record interprets the meaning of loneliness, cascading through amplified folk rock and guitarist Jenn Wasner’s smoky voice which twirls your senses (“Holy Holy”, “Plains”).

The gorgeous brush strokes of dream pop creep into Pitchfork territory and will certainly attract Beach House/The xx cravers, but the accidental tone isn’t the main highlight. As mesmerizing as Civilian can be, it’s also deafening. The title track models a southern shoegaze rhythm with Wasner disclosing her flaws before hitting her peak, erupting into a storm of noise. “Dogs’ Eyes” does the same with an organic riff that tests Wye Oak’s discovery of “dream rock” and the meaning of loneliness. As the ten tracks prove, sometimes desolation and heartache can drive you to write something sincere, and sometimes it can force you to lose yourself in a room of noise and genuinely rock the f*ck out.

Download: “Dogs’ Eyes”, “Hot As Day”


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