Wye Oak Vie For the 2009 Most Improved Band Award

Jun. 10, 2009
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Wye Oak introduced themselves promisingly with their 2008 debut If Children, a charming if occasionally overly timid disc plucked from the quaint apple orchard as another co-ed hush-pop duo from Baltimore, Beach House, but Wye Oak's upcoming album, The Knot, is grand improvementa louder, more purposeful record that refashions Galaxie 500's starry-eyed haze, Among My Swan-era Mazzy Star's acid-washed psychedelia and Crazy Horse's vociferous twang for the current indie-folk movement.

A new emphasis on electric guitars has injected some extra vitality into the group, but most everything about the record is bigger and better than its more humble predecessor, with the band finding novel ways to work strings, horns and textural flourishes into their warm, squalling arrangements. I suspect the album should win the duo some new critical cache when its released on July 21; in the meantime, the record is streaming on Merge's Web site, and offering the track "Take It In" for free download.


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