Wye Oak: A Combustible Mix Of Bluster And Beauty

Wye Oak's "Civilian" examines the push-and-pull between a complex mind and a desire for the comforts of normalcy. i i

Wye Oak's "Civilian" examines the push-and-pull between a complex mind and a desire for the comforts of normalcy. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist
Wye Oak's "Civilian" examines the push-and-pull between a complex mind and a desire for the comforts of normalcy.

Wye Oak's "Civilian" examines the push-and-pull between a complex mind and a desire for the comforts of normalcy.

Courtesy of the artist

Thursday's Pick

Song: "Civilian"

Artist: Wye Oak

CD: Civilian

Genre: Rock

There are so many adjectives worth applying to Wye Oak's music — dark, brooding, mysterious and so on — that don't come close to capturing the Baltimore duo's stormy, booming power. As much as Jenn Wasner's sweetly moody, vaguely sinister slurring dominates the surface of the band's songs, everything else in the mix has been placed perfectly to achieve maximum conflict and combustibility. Given that Andy Stack plays drums and keyboards simultaneously at Wye Oak's shows, there's more stuffed into this music than two people should be able to muster.

A highlight from the excellent new album of the same name, "Civilian" perfectly captures Wye Oak's distinctive mix of bluster and beauty, as Wasner obliquely examines the push-and-pull between a complex mind and a desire for the comforts of normalcy. As "Civilian" builds to the point of near-implosion, Wasner searches for certainty — "I wanted to love you like my mother's mother's mother did" — but finds such stability elusive. Then again, if discomfort consistently produces art this gripping, why be normal?

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