Wye Oak: Civilian

Categories: Review Roundup

Wye Oak - Civilian
​To make a long story short, Wye Oak is Beach House for 2011. Both bands are duos comprised of both a male and female member -- the female taking the vocal reigns. Both bands are from Baltimore and both play indie rock. Hell, the latest albums from either band both have ten tracks. 

While the similarities between Beach House and Wye Oak run deep, their sounds thankfully aren't exact copies of each other. On Civilian, Wye Oak duo Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner take the Baltimore-based male/female indie rock duo formula and make it their own, infusing a twinge of folk and even some hints of grunge to help further their sound. What emerges is a refreshingly unique album that might even make people start comparing Beach House to Wye Oak and not the other way around.

What the critics are saying:

The Guardian: The third album from Wye Oak boasts many of the same dream-pop textures deployed by fellow Baltimore boy/girl duo Beach House, but theirs is a more varied sound, with greater use of light and shade.

Spin: Singer-guitarist Jenn Wasner's voice and lyrics -- smoky, seductive, strange -- are perfectly framed by everything from chugging shoegaze ("Holy Holy") to subdued thrum ("Fish") to virtually nothing (the gutting closer "Doubt").

Sputnik Music: While the chilled warmth of the loneliness is the essence and the soul of Civilian, It's when everything falls apart where the album reaches its great heights. When "Dog Eyes" lucid atmosphere is split open by a shockingly violent guitar solo, it's an awesome sight to behold.

Drowned In Sound: True, it can sometimes seem as if Wye Oak's sole ambition is to sound like a lot of other bands but - just as they claim the album title comes from their belief that 'everybody wants to be normal but no-one truly is' - Civilian has just enough personality to stop it being completely pedestrian.

Civilian is out now via Merge.

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