Wye Oak: A Much-Needed Punch In The Gut

Wye Oak singer-guitarist Jenn Wasner and drummer Andy Stack build songs around simple ideas that can seem opaque, but always pack an unexpected kick. On The Knot, Wasner's voice sounds calm and certain, as her lyrics delve into the confusion and uncertainty that fill the cracks of even the best relationships.

Tuesday's Pick

Song: "Take It In"

Artist: Wye Oak

CD: The Knot

Genre: Rock

Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack bash at each other with everything they have. i i

In "Take It In," Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack bash at each other with everything they have. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist
Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack bash at each other with everything they have.

In "Take It In," Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack bash at each other with everything they have.

courtesy of the artist

Stack and Wasner released their first album on their own before signing to Merge Records, and they produced The Knot themselves. It's fitting. Take It In could be about a fight between two people who know each other very well — in addition to being bandmates, Stack and Wasner are a couple — and bash at each other with everything they have in an effort to keep the relationship alive. The soft, round guitar chords that open the song bloom into peals of thundering distortion, Wasner's voice is mixed low, and when the song hits its climax, Stack's cymbals almost drown her out.

It could make for a disorienting listen, but Wasner's lyrics fold seamlessly into the dynamics of the song: "I turn to smoke when you need air / I'm sorry, baby, I don't care." If it sounds cold, just wait. At the end of the song, as the ruckus fades, Wasner coos, "I take it back, I'll take it in / 'til I never need air again." Pop songs sometimes scratch an itch you didn't know you had; Wye Oak's trick is making you feel as if the thing you needed was a punch in the gut.

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Knot

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Album
Knot
Artist
Wye Oak
Label
Merge
Released
2009

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