Wye Oak's second album follows the same basic blueprint as their first album--straight-up indie rock with no surprises, but just enough inspiration to keep it from being strictly derivative. The duo uses many trademark tricks of '90s indie rock like quiet verses/loud choruses, dynamic builds that end in guitar freakouts, and vocals buried in the mix. The '90s vibe is also heightened by Wasner's vocal similarities to Georgia Hubley of Yo La Tengo and the organic production that sounds like it could have (and maybe was) done on reel-to-reel tape rather than a computer. It gives the album a warm, intimate feel that only occasionally sounds a little murky around the edges. What the band adds to the equation is the soul that Wasner pours into her singing (and most likely her lyrics, though they are often difficult to make out). Her hushed delivery of the vocals draws the listener in closer. They also wrote some songs that would stand toe to toe with the best music of the era they so clearly love; the lilting "Siamese" sounds like a lost YLT album track, the chugging "Tattoo" benefits from an excellent vocal line sung in harmony by the pair, and "I Want for Nothing" sounds like the kind of sweet and moving song Madder Rose wanted to record but never quite could.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra