Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner, together known as Wye Oak, are the kind of male/female duo that people only dream of. They join the likes of Mates of State, Crystal Castles and She & Him, making fun, danceable and big-sounding tunes. With a limited roster, Wye Oak’s My Neighbor / My Creator (originally released in 2010, recently released on vinyl) is a loud, dreamy take on folky pop.
Kicking off the 5-song EP (the last song being a remix of a track from their previous album) is “My Neighbor,” sporting the Wasner on guitar and Stack on skins combination. The aggressively strummed guitars, plus the busy drumming invoke sort of a Joy Formidable meets Rilo Kiley feel, with no sonic space left untouched. Note the big sound without the use of heavy reverb from both the instruments and Wasner’s vocals.
“Emmylou” goes straight into the overplayed (but not played out) shoegaze drum beat a la My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and Mary Chain, Asobi Seksu and Ringo Deathstarr. A little more distortion joins in on this one, almost masking the harmonica solo at the death. Who knew noise pop could sound so rad with a harmonic solo? “My Creator” slows it down a bit, with Wasner quietly singing and plucking away until the 1-minute mark, where she’s backed by synths, more harmonica and dramatic toms.
“I Hope You Die,” is chilled-out pop sing-a-long, the kind of track that gets people teary-eyed at the end of a set. Hints of Jenny Lewis’ first solo album and some Best Coast are pretty evident here. Wye Oak don’t come off as silly as most things from Baltimore do (well, maybe just John Waters). They write solid, sincere music that comes off somewhat safe. Although Wye Oak’s influences are somewhat worn right on their sleeves, it doesn’t mean they don’t do it well or in their own, great-sounding way. My Neighbor / My Creator is definitely a “must have on vinyl” purchase despite whatever format you own it in from two years ago.