Baltimore is becoming our nation's hub for soft-focus synth pop, with great bands like Future Islands, Beach House – and now Wye Oak. On albums such as 2011's excellent Civilian, the duo played noise-seared folk rock. Here, they trade guitars for haunted keyboards without changing up their songwriting. This is tough, knotty indie rock the way Yaz might do it. Singer Jenn Wasner earns her dreampop diva stripes with full-bodied vocals and nuanced lyrics about trying to connect with other people, and keyboardist-drummer Andy Stack moves things forward with thick, pushy beats. Check the one on "Glory," a forlorn Eighties banger in deep need of a gothy teen drama to soundtrack.
From The Archives Issue 1208: May 8, 2014