Friday, March 14, 2008

Wye Oak- If Children (review)

This Baltimore Maryland two piece (named after the state tree) is one of my favorite new discoveries.
Wye Oak formerly known as Monarch until a few months ago (it turned out there were several bands with that name) & fresh off being picked up by Merge records, is made up of Jenn Wasner (guitar & vocals) & Andy Stackall (keys, drums).
It seems to defy your ears when givin a listen that just these two people made up the record. My first introduction to the band was the track "Warning". Listening to the intro my first thought was ok here's another alt country band. Wrong!, immediately the song bursts out at you with well crafted distortion and fuzz, leaving that notion in the dust. Wye Oak is much more than that, and although i've heard them get pigeonholed in the usual shoegaze, alt country, power pop and even folk categories, they brush off any labeling upon giving them a closer listen. From the intimate simplicity of the song "Please Concrete" which takes you on a wave of noise, to the violin tinged driving track "Family Glue", WO is making more than just sweet layered goodness. The band has a sound all their own, & to me their a sort of throwback to the early to mid 90's scene, and i mean that in a good way. Jenn Wasner's voice seems made to match the songs, and even on a few tracks Andy picks up the vocals. which in a lot of guy/ girl combo's lose something cause one is far superior to the other. But here they don't lose a step.

The band can currently be seen at SXSW thru Sat the 15th. with touring picking back up again in April. You can catch shows locally in the nyc area on apr.12th @ Union Hall in Bklyn.

Wye Oak's new album "If Children" is set to be released on April 8th & can be found on Merge records, online and hopefully in your local music store. Check them out at or on their myspace. Def worth giving a listen.

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