Wye Oak Is Back, and They’re Not Playing it Safe

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Wye Oak
Shriek
Merge

When a bandleader’s side project starts to influence her primary job, that sometimes means the original group has run out of steam and is headed for mothballs. Happily, that isn’t the case with the Baltimore folk-pop duo Wye Oak. Singer Jenn Wasner has returned from her detour in the groove-oriented Dungeonesse with renewed energy, rejoining Andy Stack to create Wye Oak 2.0, which replaces guitars with synths. The result is a deceptively subtle—and pleasing—blend of old and new. You can dance to the songs on Shriek, sometimes, but a look beneath the shiny surface reveals the same inventive melodies and thoughtful lyrics that made Wye Oak so rewarding in the first place. While purists might object, Wasner and Stack have done the band and its listeners a service by refusing to play it safe.

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