Wye Oak’s fifth album, The Louder I Call, the Faster it Runs, repositions a band who are not only capable of turning indie rock into something greater than the sum of its parts, but something infinitely more valuable.
The Charm City duo’s particular take on experimental dream-pop has positioned them in a category where they aren’t confined to a traditional sound, but instead able to expand in to areas both incredibly beautiful and emotional.
Wye Oak are one of the few of their peers who have the ability to undergo such a change while all the while benefiting greatly from it. Within that shift, the pair master the art of subtlety while comparatively creating their own version of grand, sweeping rock.
The excellent “Lifer” is a prime example, a standout track that sways, offering perspective with Jenn Wasner’s incisive lyrics. But within its gentle appeal, Wye Oak build the song into something larger, possessive of a sharp edge. The slow burning “It Was Not Natural” abides similarly, but instead of guitar, its rising point glows with warm synths that sound absolutely massive.
Other songs have their own energy. The very St. Vincent-like “Symmetry” finds Wasner in paradise, pushing her vocals and allowing them to soar without restraint. The hypnotic “You of all People” strums with lush, shoegazey guitar, while the album’s gorgeous closer, “I Know it’s Real”, is a pleasant reminder of how powerful Wye Oak really is, especially within their quieter songs. They manage to invest their efforts particularly and carefully, showing that even if they choose to pull back, they’ll still pull you in.
It’s hard not to fully engulf yourself in what they’re producing at this point. Far too many bands have been faced with panic in the face of progression, and under the pressure hurry themselves into something forgettable. Not Wye Oak: they gracefully ride the crest of change, and the confidence it affords them is apparent – they execute a particular mood that evokes and generates presence. Wye Oak’s forward-thinking approach proves they’re miles ahead of their peers in more ways than one, and if they can keep on moving, things are likely to stay that way for some time.