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Wye Oak — The Knot   (July 21, 2009)

Wye Oak — The Knot   (July 21, 2009)                       Wye Oak — The Knot (July 21, 2009)                                   ♦♦♦   Je dost těžké být duo, ale je desetkrát těžší, když při zaměření na hudbu je v sázce láska. Přidejte k tomu opojný obsah alba a skutečnost, že konflikty nevyhnutelně musí přijít s extrémně frekventovanou blízkostí při jeho přípravě..., a jsem trochu překvapen, že Wye Oak ho udělali živě. Ale oni to dokázali, což je jejich vlastní triumf, přičemž můj požadavek vždy byl, aby jedno z nejvíce dojemných a dechberoucích alb roku 2009, s jasným smyslem pro vlastní sílu a dynamiku, bylo pravdivé. Možná je to proto, že bez ohledu na to, jak hořlavým albem se ‘The Knot’ stalo, Stack a Wasner vždy zněli týmově, usilovali o společný cíl, i když oba sedí na opačných stranách zdi. Člověk by se domníval, že každé tření mezi nima bylo skutečně nezbytné a to jen proto, aby mohli vyprávět tyto oblíbené příběhy s tak přesvědčivou autenticitou, ale také proto, aby odhalili své problémy, jak se s nimi vypořádali a tím dosáhli výhodnějšího postavení na konci celého procesu. Není to koneckonců důvod, proč vůbec konflikty existují? Můj verdikt: 9½                                                 ♣   An excellent album in it's own right, The Knot deserves your time and attention if you are remotely a fan of any indie/folk music at all. This is a two–piece band with talent and raw passion. This is an indie gem, melodic and relaxing as it is climactic and abundant in passion.                    Birth name: Jennifer Lynn Wasner
Born: April 16, 1986, Baltimore, Maryland
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Album release: July 21, 2009
Record Label: Affairs of the Heart / Merge Records
Duration:     44:38
01. Milk and Honey      2:00
02. For Prayer      3:51
03. Take It In      5:51
04. Siamese      4:11
05. Talking About Money      3:14
06. Mary Is Mary      7:37
07. Tattoo      4:08
08. I Want for Nothing      4:23
09. That I Do      3:51
10. Sight, Flight      5:34
Members: Jenn Wasner, Andy Stack
♣   Wye Oak started as two friends (Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack) recording songwriting demos together, but their basement project has since evolved to include tours of America and Europe, and a home on legendary label Merge Records. The Knot reflects that burgeoning confidence and comfort while maintaining the intimacy and emotional directness that are the band’s hallmarks.
♣   A set of songs that sway, stretch, and scream while always reaching outward for personal connection. As ever, Andy Stack's production layers his own multi–instrumental arrangements over Jenn Wasner's woozy compositions, but musically, too, things sound more precise. There's less squalling feedback than before, but lingering violin and pedal steel bring out the droning Americana that has always informed Wye Oak’s sound.                                                                                                  Review
By Mike Powell; July 21, 2009;  Score: 5.9
♣   Wye Oak’s debut, If Children, was a small, surprising record. Surprising because it was the sound of two kids, barely 21, playing earnest, noisy folk–rock that ignored nearly every trend in indie music; surprising because it came out of Baltimore, a city whose indie scene — lead by Dan Deacon and bands like Ponytail — is publicized for its spasm and flash. Surprising because of the sympathy in Jenn Wasner’s lyrics. Most of the songs on the album were about age and domesticity, and most of the time it was impossible to gauge how old or domestic the band was. The character of Wasner’s voice flickered between baby bunny and bitter wife, and swelling, muscular moments in the music were as confidently handled as the quiet ones.  If it’s not obvious that I sincerely love the band Wye Oak (and not for sentimental reasons), let me clarify that I do — and so it's with bit lip and heavy heart that I report on The Knot. The record doesn't feel as varied or agile as If Children did — which is too bad only because If Children proved they could make a varied, agile record. Songs rarely pick up from a crawl. Sustained guitar chords fan out and crush whatever momentum the band gets going. The bursts of distortion that colored If Children are almost pornographically expanded.
♣   It's also about as close to objectively gorgeous music as I can imagine. Drummer Andy Stack's arrangements are integral and imaginative: The big string–section harmonies on "I Want For Nothing" practically pry the song open; the unrepentantly rock climax of "For Prayer" washes away on the mercurial sound of slide guitars. But dirges like "Mary Is Mary" and "Slight, Flight" end up serving as measuring sticks for how much pretty is too much pretty — for me, it's about five minutes. If not five, definitely seven and a half.
♣   Wasner's voice has become more expressive, something I'd noticed during live performances of songs from If Children. There's probably more than one good way to sing the lines, "Do you never ask because you know I'll say/ You're the only one?""but you're not the only one," but damn if they don't feel like anvils when she drops them. I mention all their achievements because I feel like Wye Oak is still a young band, still growing, still singular. When I met Jenn and Andy last April, we talked briefly about the reviews for If Children — one of which I wrote for this site. Jenn said that the numbers didn’t matter to them at the moment, and surprisingly, it looked like she meant it. “The way I see it,” she said, “we’re going to be doing this for a long time.” Here’s hoping.  ♣  http://pitchfork.com/                          By Noel Murray, Jul 21, 2009 12:00 AM;  Score: A–
♣   Certain critical terms get taken as pejorative when they’re merely descriptive: “Droning,” for example, doesn’t necessarily mean boring or moribund. When used to describe a sound, “drone” usually means “a low hum”, and when employed by a band as skilled as Maryland’s Wye Oak, a low hum can convey a rich palette. The duo’s second album The Knot drones the way Yo La Tengo drones, or Spinanes when they were around. Lead singer–guitarist Jenn Wasner is a belter who lets up only to step on a pedal and let fly with some loud, distorted, moaning guitar. Drummer/organist Andy Stack keeps a straightforward beat, while adding some additional reverberation and shade with his keyboards. The songs on The Knot range from the pounding, cavernous “Take It In” to the lilting, catchy “Siamese,” but all of them rely on a few simple sounds vibrating steadily in their own individual spaces, before rolling on top of each other like lovers who’ve been waiting all day for a little privacy. (Many of the album’s songs are about couples in crisis, which only adds an extra layer of tension to The Knot’s sound.) Wye Oak isn’t breaking any new ground in the exciting field of drone–exploration, but the band’s tone is striking — like a tuning fork with the blues.  ♣   http://www.avclub.com/                                                                   Also:
By Melanie McGovern, 17 July 2009; Score: 8/10
♣   http://www.thefourohfive.com/music/review/wye-oak-the-knot
BY ALEX YOUNG ON JULY 27, 2009, 9:15 AM;  SCORE: B
♣   http://consequenceofsound.net/2009/07/album-review-wye-oak-the-knot/
By CYNTHIA KANG, Thursday, July 23, 2009
♣   http://archive.dailycal.org/article.php?id=106117
Review by Apollo;  Score: 4.0
♣   http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/42485/Wye-Oak-The-Knot/
BY MIKE NEWMARK, 21 July 2009;  SCORE: 8
♣   http://www.popmatters.com/review/107841-wye-oak-the-knot/
Label: http://www.mergerecords.com/the-knot
Bandcamp: http://wyeoak.bandcamp.com/album/the-knot
Website: http://wyeoakmusic.com/site/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/wyeoak
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wyeoak
Press: Christina Rentz — christina@mergerecords.com, Dana Erickson — danae@grandstandhq.com
Agent: Trey Many (US) — trey@billions.com, Kalle Lundgren Smith (EU) kalle@pitchandsmith.com, August Cohlmia (Asia) ac@scorched.asia
♣   If Children (2008)
♣   The Knot (2009)
♣   My Neighbor / My Creator (2010)
♣   Civilian (2011)
♣   Shriek (2014)♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣

Wye Oak — The Knot   (July 21, 2009)