Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Listen: Wye Oak - "The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs"

Though it's certainly not news to anyone lucky enough to catch them on tour last Fall, Wye Oak have emerged triumphant from their latest recording sessions with a follow up to their previous studio record Shriek. Though they released their non-album Tween in 2016, a collection of tracks crafted during recording sessions for various albums that never quite made it onto any, the band's latest The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs is the band's much more confident entry into it's official discography. Baltimore duo no longer and separated by half-a-country, Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack have made the most of their lack of proximity and the cross-country trading of ideas has resulted into newfound creative peaks for the two. After the guitar-less synth pop of Shriek, it was anyone's guess what a Wye Oak album would sound like as the two essentially rejected their status as indie rock darlings in favor of the more fulfilling artistic freedom that Wasner's shift from guitar granted them. "The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs", the title track from the duo's forthcoming fifth studio album of the same name essentially finds Wasner returning to the guitar after demonstrating the full breadth of her multi-instrumentalism on Shriek while her and Andy Stack continue to push the sound of Wye Oak into bold new directions.

"The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs" is mammoth in sound while being composed of so many intricate moving layers. Considering its sprawling opening, it's hard to imagine it isn't the first track on the new record but that honor belongs to "(tuning)". Instead Wye Oak offer the title track as the first taste of new record which functions as an effective synthesis of the duo's oeuvre. No longer relying on particular rules to dictate the formation/crafting of songs, Wasner and Stack instead focused on sifting through various musical ideas and following the most fruitful. While  "Watching the Waiting", the only truly new song on Tween, was much more of a direct commentary on where the band were post-Shriek, "The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs" functions much more as a sort of ritualistic mantra. Wasner repeats the titular phrase often with occasional tweaks and it is the only lyric that fully survive the surging climax throws fragments of previous uttered lyrics back in new unfinished configurations along with the detritus of musical ideas smashed to bits and blown back with intense shredded guitar parts. Wasner highlights the comfort of familiar patterns as a means to remain adrift against a sea of uncertainty and the mantra-like chorus echoes that sentiment entirely.

The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs, the fifth studio album from Wye Oak is out April 6th on Merge. Pre-order is available now.

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