Your Civic Duty
Indie folk duo Wye Oak, comprised of Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner, are masters of the multi-instrumental multitask. While their live performances usually involve them utilizing several instruments all at once whilst singing, the transformation to a studio album is a little more refined. After releasing content annually for the past four years, Wye Oak set a pattern for themselves with their latest album, Civilian.
Civilian starts off slowly with “Two Small Deaths,” a song utilizing mid-tempo guitar and drums as well as pseudo-psychedelic leads typical of the modern indie-folk movement. The title track features keys more likened to that of a funeral, accompanied by folk-country acoustic guitar and tambourine. The song swings back and forth between depressing and inspiring with driving guitar licks and one hell of an electric guitar solo. “Civilian” is also typical of Wasner’s highly emotional vocals throughout the album, which are warm, familiar, and almost reminiscent of a minimalist Radiohead. Dream pop ambient noises are present throughout most of the album, as is the use of distorted electric guitar, although both appear in moderation with almost calculated formulas.
In a spectrum ranging from dreary, dismal chords to triumphant crescendos of joy, Wye Oak has created an eclectic collection of melodramatic melodies while still fitting within the niche sound they have carved out for themselves. Although nothing earth shattering, Civilian is a solid and well produced album that is certain to please fans.