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My Neighbor / My Creator - EP

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Album Review

Wye Oak's brand of earnest, melancholy indie rock is a definitely throwback to a simpler time. In 2010 a band that doesn’t use samplers or excessive reverb, steal from the '70s, or incorporate hippie folk into its sound is an anomaly. Over two fine albums, the Baltimore duo has crafted a sound that calls to mind bands like Scrawl and early Yo La Tengo, who blended layers of guitars and artless vocals into a quiet yet emotionally forceful listening experience. On the My Neighbor/My Creator EP, Wye Oak inject some energy into their songs, boosting the tempos and noise levels (which had dipped on their second album) and allowing vocalist Jenn Wasner a chance to let loose a little. Her singing on the rollicking "Emmylou" is her most powerful to date. The midtempo "My Creator" is most akin to their previous work, though the horns and sound manipulations point to a new sense of adventure that could result in an interesting third album. Indeed, the whole EP seems to promise advancements in arrangements and the songs are among the best they’ve written to date. Though it may be a stopgap between albums, My Neighbor/My Creator is an important piece of the puzzle that fans of Wye Oak shouldn’t take a pass on.

Customer Reviews

Atmospheric indie-pop

After releasing their second album, The Knot, just last year, this Baltimore duo returns with a five song EP that adds new dimension to their guitar-and-drums indie-pop. The quiet-loud contrasts, downbeat mood and buried vocals are replaced by a more outgoing tone on the opening “My Neighbor,” a romping waltz that sounds like a modern-rock version of Fragile-era Yes. The quiet/loud is reversed with the hard-charging verse and sedate chorus of “Emmylou,” driven by manic guitars and harmonica that give way in an instant to a cool moment of closing flute; it feels like a television station signing off with the national anthem cutting to a test pattern . Jenn Wasner’s vocals are audible but the lyrics still remain elusive; “I Hope You Die” has moments of aggression in its tone, but also an emotive air of contemplation, so it’s anyone’s guess if the title is hateful, ironic or something else. A closing remix of “That I Do” breaks the original’s mood of measured confrontation with a rap section that feels intrusive. The added layers give these productions a thickness one wouldn’t usually expect from a duo, but there are sparse moments to remind you this is a duet rather than an ensemble – a conversation amid the din of a manufactured crowd. [©2010 hyperbolium dot com]


wye oak is just such a great band through and through. honest, non-gimmick-relying, beautiful music that i feel like i can get behind. they are also pretty amazing live. i got really attached to "for prayer" from the last album, and "i hope you die" is another immediate gut that painful good way.


ive been listening to these 5 songs since they've been released and they never get old. they layer sounds over sounds and keep the music changing and interesting. cant wait for the new cd.


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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