Wye Oak : ‘Civilian’

Check out ‘Civilian’, the lead single from an album of the same name by Baltimore duo Wye Oak. It’s one of those tracks that made me stop what I was doing and hunt down the full length, like in the old days. They are sure to draw comparisons to neighbours Beach House largely due to Jenn Wasner’s often heavy-lidded, otherworldy delivery, but their sound is more immediate and grounded in indie rock; witness the cataclysmic wall of feedback that cuts through the song’s galloping rhythm.

This threat of dissonance runs through the album, heightening the tension and sense of unknowing on the relatively calm ‘Plains’ and on ‘Dogs Eyes’, a song that starts out like a mutated guitar version of The xx’s ‘Islands’ before losing its nimble footing, lurching into violent, foreboding territory. Such exploration of the fragile, fleeting nature of beauty and melody have earned Wye Oak justifiable comparisons to Yo La Tengo, but unlike a lot of bands looking back to the ’90s for inspiration, they transcend affectation to create something thrilling.

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