“The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs”
BOTTOM LINE Creating a sonic world all their own.
It’s not just their love of synthesizers that makes Wye Oak’s new album “The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs” (Merge) sound like it was actually born 35 years ago.
Singer Jenn Wasner and multi-instrumentalist Andy Stack enjoy the same try-anything, experimental spirit that new technology infused into many ’80s artists. Their heart-on-the-sleeve innocence adds to the album’s dreamy quality, even in dark times, like when Wasner sings in “It Was Not Natural,” “Only human hate could give us something so unforgiving.”
“Join” sounds like some crazy supergroup, like Little Big Town and Radiohead’s rhythm section fronted by Enya, while the single “Lifer” conjures up the Dream Academy with a more active guitarist.
Wye Oak’s most effective creation, though, is when they mix folk sweetness and electronic beats, as they do in the lovely “You of All People,” which aches and echoes without losing any intensity.
Wasner and Stack have experimented with multiple sounds in their decade together, as well as in their side projects. But this combination feels distinctive and memorable, much like their edgier breakthrough album “Civilian” in 2011.