Wye Oak – The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs

Wye Oak take a giant step forward with their experimental, unpredictable and hugely enjoyable sixth album

Album Review by Peter Simpson | 02 Apr 2018
Album title: The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs
Artist: Wye Oak
Label: Merge
Release date: 6 Apr

Much like frequent collaborators Sylvan Esso, Wye Oak’s latest album begins with a tune-up. But while SE jumped straight into a cheery pop toe-tapper on What Now, Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack’s first real punch on The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs comes in a squall of feedback and arpeggiated synths that explodes in multiple directions all at once.

This is a hugely creative and wildly ambitious sixth record from Wye Oak, made up of apparently endless waves of sound and experimental slices of indie, folk and synth-pop, all anchored by Wasner’s fantastic, oscillating vocals. There are some sparkling hooks in here as well, and for every moment of gnarly tech-assisted noise – like Symmetry’s droning guitars and chirping beats or the fuzzy guitar that brings in the chorus of It Was Not Natural – there’s an earworm of a melody to keep things from getting too esoteric. 

And for an album that’s packed with invention, Wasner and Stack’s production work does a brilliant job of blending economy and spectacle. It’s no good overloading your sound to the point of incomprehension, and Wye Oak get the message – the result is a clean mix that’s shot through with subtleties and tricks to discover.

Even at its most restrained, there’s plenty in The Louder I Call... to pore through. Over and Over seems to be going somewhere fairly straightforward, before diving in two-footed with distorted vocals and aggressive drum work. Meanwhile, the layers of glitch and reverb on Join frame a simple guitar loop with a sparkling background that just keeps on building and building.

The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs revels in keeping you off balance; it impresses, inspires and occasionally overwhelms, but it never outstays its welcome. A fantastic statement from an endlessly evolving band shouting louder than ever.

Listen to: It Was Not Natural, Symmetry, Join