Wye Oak – Shriek
In which the Baltimore duo continue to defy lazy labelling. Shriek, their fourth album, carries on where 2011’s much-lauded Civilian left off, further rationalising their edgy palette and sharpening their songcraft. If they were ever part of the noughties’ indie folk revival, this largely electronic work transports them to somewhere else entirely. With Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner writing apart this time, and on a wider range of instruments, Shriek is their brightest, fullest work to date.
Those shoegaze comparisons always felt a little off, too, but in how Shriek embraces large-scale melody and deals its tunes with such a generous hand, it has a look of School of Seven Bells or even Chairlift. Wasner’s plaintive vocals remain a joy. Throughout, the songs, from the pure pop of the title track to the squalling beats of Glory, carry mood and mystery, and, for a band known for intimacy and restraint, unexpected clout. [Gary Kaill]