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If Children

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iTunes Review

Originally released under the band name Monarch, Wye Oak’s If Children has been reissued by the prestigious Chapel Hill-based independent label Merge to better expose this early 20-something Baltimore duo’s disarming shoegazer pop. Drummer Andy Stack and multi-instrumentalist Jenn Wasner investigate a sound far grander than their sparse numbers suggest. Though recorded in basements, apartments and studios throughout the fall and winter of 2006, the tunes’ random assemblage enabled the duo to slowly flesh the arrangements out with keyboards, hyper-intensified guitar tones that contrast from gentle strumming to solid walls of ambient groan, and rolling waves of vocal harmonies that recall the smooth tranquility of Ida (“Archaic Smile”) and other slo-core adherents. Tunes such as “Warning” and “Regret” retain their folk roots, adding dream-like reverb for the feeling of gentle twilight. Wasner’s double-tracked vocals (“Family Glue”) create childlike warmth (much like early Cat Power) as the orchestration builds to climax. “Orchard Fair” adds rhythmic punch along the squalls of feedback.

Customer Reviews


Jenn was our substitute chorus teacher in middle school for a few days and was the best teacher ever. she played all her songs for us and we were all blown away. it was a few years ago, and I just hope they become big because they are awesome!!


This album has completely lived up to all of the hype! PHENOMENAL. I saw these guys live and I can't believe two people can create this much noise. Check them out!

Wye Oak hides in the tall grass

I'm surprised these two haven't made more press this year. They are NOT just another White Stripes clone nor are they yet another dark folk band. They definitely have a 90's indie sound, kind of remind me of Yo La Tengo's more quiet numbers. Regardless, it's a unique album that to me sounds at once diverse and cohesive. A great listen.


Formed: 2006 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Wye Oak, a Baltimore-based indie rock duo comprising Jenn Wasner (guitar, vocals) and Andy Stack (drums, keyboards, vocals), took their name from a symbolic 460-year-old tree in their home state of Maryland. Formed in 2006 under the moniker Monarch, Wasner and Stack recorded their first album in varied spots, bouncing around various basements and apartments, eventually landing a record deal with indie heavyweight Merge. The label would go on to release the act's 2008 debut, If Children, as well as...
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