Flock of Dimes - If You See Me, Say Yes
In some respects, it seems a touch strange that Jenn Wasner should feel the need for a side project at all. It doesn’t seem as if she’s particularly constrained creatively in Wye Oak, who made one of the finest guitar records of the past decade in 2007’s Civilian and then promptly threw out the six-string and went all-out electropop for the glorious follow-up, Shriek. June’s surprise latest LP, Tween, struck a balance somewhere between the two, but all the while Wasner’s been recording and occasionally releasing online tracks under her Flock of Dimes pseudonym.
If You See Me, Say Yes is the out-and-out debut for the project, and kind of plays like a grab-bag of Wasner’s myriad off-kilter pop influences. Birthplace is the sort of sunny throwback that could have made it onto the latest Blood Orange album, You, The Vatican is all languid groove, and Flight channels Bat for Lashes, with floaty vocals over a bed of undulating synth. Wasner spoke frequently, around the release of Shriek, about the extent to which exhaustive touring had effectively rendered her unable to write on the guitar any more, but as on Tween, there’s evidence of it beginning to seep back into her work; the brooding Apparition has some lovely acoustic work.
For the most part, though, Wasner is working with an electronic palette and it suits her down the ground; the clattering beat makes Everything Is Happening Today, for instance. Wasner’s ability to wrap her vocal melodies around her instrumentals allows her the sort of flexibility you need to be able to pull off this kind of experimental pop record, and the vision, too - by the time you reach closer ...To Have No Answer, with flashes of brass circling its swirling crescendo, you realise this is an album that’s been made with care and intelligence. The results are compelling.