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Wye Oak - The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs (Album Review)

Monday, 16 April 2018 Written by Jacob Brookman

It’s fair to say that Wye Oak no longer sound like a band called Wye Oak.

Their 2007 debut, ‘If Children’ introduced listeners to an acoustic duo rich in folksy storytelling and southern-state sentimentality. By 2011, the pair felt drained of inspiration and went in search of synthesisers. Their new album represents that creative departure in full bloom, and is in many ways the band’s best work.

The title track itself is a stunning, nebulous masterpiece, rich in breathy harmonies and 8-bit guitars. Its lyrics are broad, yet dense: “I search for patterns, sense that isn’t there / You can have everything, and still you have nothing.”

Jenn Wasner has gone on record to describe the song as being about “the human tendency to need to find order in chaos”, which seems like an astute understanding of the current American zeitgeist. It could also be a comment on the band’s own idiosyncratic evolution.

Another noteworthy number is Symmetry; a seven-time synth trickster with more vocoder harmonies, which builds into a devastating audio happening. This song sounds like it was conceived in a Berlin warehouse; not the actual recording locales of North Carolina and Texas.

Additionally, it acts as a bit of a precursor to Over and Over, a track that demonstrates the sonic challenges of Wye Oak by attempting to marry the experimental vibe with the band’s folk roots. It tries too hard, in fact, and fails, while the album falls away a little after its conclusion. The closer, I Know It’s Real, is epic and, once again, highly intriguing in terms of its time signature - but nothing approaches the quality of what has gone before.

Maximum liftoff might have be attained had the title track been left for last, but bands - or perhaps, labels - rarely have enough faith in their audience's attention span to place singles right at the end. One supposes that is what live shows are for.

Wye Oak Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu May 03 2018 - LONDON Village Underground
Fri May 04 2018 - MANCHESTER Deaf Institute
Sat May 05 2018 - LIVERPOOL Sound City
Sun May 06 2018 - DUBLIN Whelans

Click here to compare & buy Wye Oak Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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