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Wye Oak’s Shriek

Posted on the 01 May 2014 by Thewildhoneypie @thewildhoneypie

140129 wye oak shriek album cover WYE OAKS SHRIEK

post player play black WYE OAKS SHRIEK post player play WYE OAKS SHRIEK Wye Oak – The Tower SoundCloud

No one wants to perpetuate misery, but many people do anyway. Sure, it’s good to “get out of your comfort zone,” but staying there for too long leads to collapse. For Wye Oak, this is exactly what occurred when, to their surprise, they found they’d become an indie rock sensation after 2011’s Civilian. This led to endless touring and thus discomfort, indifference and eventually exhaustion with the very elements in their lives that had made them a “success” (namely their formula). So, for the sake of survival, it was time for a change. Which leads us to the duo’s new record, Shriek.

Shriek doesn’t contain a shred of guitar (pun not intended!), the instrument around which Wye Oak’s dynamism was formerly centered — or so we thought. Even sans guitar, we find their sound is still compelling, and upon re-examination, we find that their strength was always in their ability to craft something inexplicably visceral. That quality remains intact, only through a different sonic lens.

The first thirty seconds of the album serves as their harbinger — “It’s about to get electronic, guys.” — and then they dive right in. The first aspect that strikes us is Wasner’s, voice which is wholly confident and stronger than ever. As the tracks begin to progress, the second thought is that the first four songs are some of the best they’ve ever written in terms of melody and execution. Wasner’s soaring falsetto, offset with Stack’s angular synth pixelation, is a revelation to the ears. The 1-2-3 jab of the record’s title track followed by Shriek’s scintillating first two singles, “The Tower” and “Glory”, are as powerful as lightning on gasoline. While it’s enthralling to hear Wasner’s voice embedded in a diverse field of electronic pop and sometimes even R&B, the second half is like lightning on water — fascinating and even moving, but not exactly explosive.

Shriek is a major change for Wye Oak, but a necessary one that they’ve handled with all sincerity. While the beautiful tension that we originally fell for is still present, Shriek is very much still a transition album that points to even more incredible, probably breathtaking landscapes a bit further down the road.

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