Published Aug 05, 2016Wye Oak gained recognition for their heavy-eyed, seaport rock with the somnolent sounds of Civilian. With the release of their new record, Tween, duo Jen Wasner and Andy Stack have left the stability of land for open waters.
Where Civilian featured tied-down tunes like "Holy Holy," which transitioned from verse to chorus with very little change of pace, Tween casts off with "Out of Nowhere," an aptly titled instrumental unlike anything Wye Oak's done before. They follow their new musical compass with "If You Should See," which turns toward an electronic-leaning bass pulse provided in part by Stack's typically eccentric play with time signatures, while "Too Right" features dark waves of '90s grunge and a less sedate, more forceful vocal performance from Wasner. Really, the only obvious parallel between Tween and other Wye Oak records is the similarity between "No Dreaming" and Shriek's "The Tower" — both throw around memorably sharp hooks that sink in deeper with each listen.
Tween's exploratory tone is an expected attitude for slightly bored but highly innovative indie veterans like Wye Oak to adopt. Oftentimes, change is risky, but here, the destination is worth any anxiety caused by the change of direction. (Merge)