Wye Oak
The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs


4.5
superb

Review

by Dewinged USER (42 Reviews)
November 28th, 2018 | 26 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Branching out.

I met Wye Oak for the first time in a balcony. It was not in person, mind you. The video belonged to a live performance out in the open in some building in Amsterdam. It was in back in 2011, I believe. Jenn Wasner had an acoustic guitar with her and Andy Stack just sort of stood next to her, nervously shaking a tambourine and religiously stomping on the kick drum. They played a song called “Civilian”.

I fell in love with Wasner’s voice instantly, her warm tone and her raptured way of singing are features that soon stand out when listening to Wye Oak for the first time, not to mention the fact that “Civilian” is one hell of a song. I found myself digging further into their live catalog that afternoon. To my surprise, that was also the first time I saw Andy Stack playing drums with his right hand while hammering a totally different phrase on a keyboard with his left hand. It broke my mind. The two of them sounded better than many bands with twice the people. I soon understood that Wye Oak was no joke.

Civilian was a song (and the album) that brought them overwhelming success, unfortunately to the point of total exhaustion. It took its toll specially on Wasner, who grew to despise her guitar. It forced her to turn her attention to other forms of expressing herself: keyboards and electronics were the choice. It was then that a new and electric chapter for the duo was written under the name Shriek, an album equally loved and hated by their ever-growing fanbase, but that accidentally prompted an irrefutable truth: Wye Oak were much more than another simple indie rock outfit.

Before the astonishing return for the duo that is this The Louder I Call, the Faster They Run, there was a small attempt, an album labeled by them as “an EP” or just “b-sides”, but that ironically had some of the best material that the band had ever written. The not-very-important recording was called Tween, and it featured tracks like “If you should see” or “No dreaming” which, interestingly enough, became the sign of a promising future for the band. Fast forward two years and Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack live on different cities, although no matter how much physical distance is between them, they have never been so artistically close. With distance not being a problem anymore, not even an excuse, the duo was boiling with ideas so it didn’t take long for the Oak to branch out, secure its roots and deliver one of the best albums they have ever written.

The tree has grown, vastly. Jenn Wasner sounds fantastic in songs like “You Of All People”, “The Instrument” or “Lifer”. There is some sort of positivism emanating from her singing, like a deliciously aged red wine that relies on not only its body, but also in the aftertaste. Behind this thin optimism though lies a crescent anxiety; towards life, towards the pass of time and the inexorable fears that come with something as simple and unnerving as growing old. Wasner dances with these thoughts, cuts through this iceberg of doubts and terrors with enviable maturity, this time not only speaking through her guitar, but also through a bass, a keyboard, a piano, and the sincere emotion of her voice. The non-conformist drumming of Andy Stack, always defying the rest of the instrumentation with superb technique in songs like aforementioned “The Instrument” or “Symmetry”, takes a supportive role in songs like “It Was Not Natural”, letting Wasner to ruminate about these existential doubts and how to crush them.

The A side will bring you the Wye Oak you know. The one that knows what it wants while remaining welcoming, familiar. But as the album plays, the tree will grow, and the fruit that once was at everyone’s reach now it only belongs to those with the will and faith to climb to higher heights with them. Mid-album, Wasner deviates from the path and recalls Debut-era Bjork in “My Signal”, her voice shrouded in a obscuring effect while violin and cello play hide and seek. “Over and Over” entangles itself in melodies that don’t feel that welcoming anymore, while the drums breath heavier, almost choking to the strange tempo. “You Of All People” carries a wonderful vocal line, soaring gently over the calming rhythm until reaching the quasi-country, dreamy vibe of “Join”. The album closes with “I Know It’s Real”, starting off with boniverian keys and finishing on a delaying beat, almost like treading over the cracking tip of the highest branches.

With The Louder I Call, the Faster They Run, Wye Oak stands on newfound altitude. And looking down from the top will always be vertigo-inducing for many, because the old days of “Civilian” are long gone. Staring from down below, the memory of that balcony is only fallen leaves, so it’s natural to look up and wait for the new fruit to pop. Well, wait no more, cause it’s already here for the taking.



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user ratings (35)
Chart.
3.4
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Dewinged
November 28th 2018


13749 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I know I am gonna get looooads of shit for this, and believe me when I said I had this at 3.5. but I don't know, after many listens, I reached the conclusion that is amazing.



The album came out in April so no news, but you can watch the video for the title track here:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOiuE8Fn-Ro



God help me all.

Digging: Two People - First Body

guitarded_chuck
November 28th 2018


16868 Comments


this intrigued me but i just went and listened to civilian first cause it was the highest rated, love the psychy dream-pop-ish folk style, will jam this next

pos'deded

Dewinged
November 28th 2018


13749 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks Chuck. Yeah Civilian is considered their best. I believed it too but this got better with time.

Papa Universe
November 28th 2018


19200 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The Louder I POS, the Faster It Runs

Digging: Two People - First Body

Snake.
November 28th 2018


21279 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

sop

TwigTW
November 28th 2018


3598 Comments


I'm gonna have to give this another listen.

Digging: The Delines - The Imperial

AdolfChrist
November 28th 2018


19140 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Forgot about this, still need to hear.

Digging: Cerebral Rot - Cessation of Life

Dewinged
November 28th 2018


13749 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hope you find smth enjoyable there Adolf.



Twig, it started as passable for me but there is a lot of good in this thing, give it another chance!



And tx for the pos's!

theBoneyKing
November 28th 2018


15906 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Glad to see this get a review even if it did never click for me.

A few comments though:

You’ve spelled Jenn Wasner’s name wrong throughout.

In paragraph 3, you said “Shriek, an album equally loved and hated but their ever-growing fanbase”; “but” should be “by”

The previous album was called Tween, not Ween (lol)

Great job otherwise, though I would say there’s a bit too much background; you could’ve gotten into the meat of discussing the album a bit sooner.

Digging: Modest Mouse - This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About

Dewinged
November 28th 2018


13749 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks Boney, god those are very stupid mistakes, guess I was really sleepy last night.



Yep, background got a good portion of the review, Idk why, just how I felt it.

neekafat
November 28th 2018


13939 Comments


damn really wanna check this
wonder if it's still on my cram list

Dewinged
November 28th 2018


13749 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

If it's not put it back neek! I wanna read your thoughts on it.

blastOFFitsPARTYtime
November 29th 2018


1747 Comments


Nice one, have been meaning to check this.

Dewinged
November 29th 2018


13749 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks dude, hope you dig it.

Wayfarer1991
November 29th 2018


33 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Nice man take a pos.



Any press for Wye Oak is a great thing in my book, even seven months after an album release. Album is great, band is great.

Dewinged
November 29th 2018


13749 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah saw your sound off and decided to give it a shot. I am surprised it didn't get a staff review, would have thought the band is high profile by now but... (shrug).

TwigTW
December 1st 2018


3598 Comments


This isn't half-bad. I'm glad I gave it another chance. I'm not sure why I rated it so low. I must have been having a bad day.

Dewinged
December 1st 2018


13749 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It is definitely a grower, Twig. But hey I have those 2.5 life itself days too hahaha

AdolfChrist
December 1st 2018


19140 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Its fuckin saturday, ill finally have time to jam some albs, need to remind myself to listen to this one.

Dewinged
December 1st 2018


13749 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I had a 5 hour train ride today aaaand I read a book.



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