Welcome to Check Your Mode

The all-inclusive, ever-changing, and uncomfortably flexible guide to all things music in the 2010's.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wye Oak - Civilian: B+

Some bands find their niche by making modern interpretations of the sounds of artists that influenced them (Oasis, LCD Soundsystem, Kylesa). Others just flat out write songs that sound like their influences, with little to no subtext to defend them from accusations of unoriginality. Wye Oak is one of the latter. Although Civilian is a thoroughly consistent album, not once does it attempt to forge a path for the group to differentiate themselves from other hard-nosed shoegaze bands with female singers. The melodic dissonance that often envelops Civilian is very similar to that of Land of Talk, Jenn Wasner’s casual voice the spitting image of Land of Talk’s Elizabeth Powel. When Wye Oak go into reverb-heavy space jams, they sound exactly like the emotionless boogie of School of Seven Bells, with similar vocal tendencies to boot. Even when the group tries to close Civilian with a spare, guitar-led lament, they sound like a cover band for their Baltimore colleagues, Beach House, Wasner’s voice hardly as affecting as Victoria Legrand’s smoky croon. And, yes, I know all four of these bands formed around the same time, but the three besides Wye Oak do what Wye Oak do better than Wye Oak, so who’s really counting years at this point, anyway? Civilian is not a bad album, but, considering that there are so many identical bands out there that do its job better, it’s not something that you’ll particularly miss if you don’t hear it.


No comments:

Post a Comment