I’ve loved Wye Oak since the first time I heard them. The Baltimore based duo of Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack have released some rough and heavy sounding music in the past, but their latest record, Shriek, turns a corner and Wye Oak has developed a more electronic sound on Shriek.  Released April 29, Shriek is not a natural evolution in the slightest, and that’s what makes Shriek so interesting. Gone are the Pixies-esque loudQUIETloud moments, and heavy guitar, replaced with grooving bass and danceable beats.

From the first notes of “Before”, you’re greeted with synthesizer know for sure Shriek is not Civilian or The Knot.  The title track, “Shriek” has got a great groove to it, and Wasner’s voice is incredible, as you would expect if you’re familiar with Wye Oak. The first single from the album was “The Tower” which was released ahead of the album has a bit of a electronic reggae feel to it, recalling  Wild Belle’s “Keep You” but a lot less playful. “Glory” is a great groove as well that almost recalls Civilian, even with its electronic, guitar-less feeling. There’s some pop sounding songs like “Despicable Animal”.  And it’s easy to get lost in the layered synths of songs like “Sick Time” with it’s thundering bass and heavenly harmonies.  And also not surprisingly, Andy Stack’s drumming is absolutely incredible, especially in the song “Paradise”, which may be the only time we hear guitar on Shriek.

I’m going to be honest here, It took quite a few attempts to get into Shriek. As I said, it’s a huge departure from their earlier work.  When I first heard “The Tower” in January I almost wrote the whole thing off, and now it’s one of my favorite tracks of the year.  As a whole, I’m not a fan of a lot of artists going electronic, but I’ve always felt Wasner and Stack to be incredibly talented and versatile musicians and Shriek is a great example of that.

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