Louder is the third record that Wasner and Andy Stack, who launched Wye Oak in Baltimore, have made while living in separate cities—she in Durham, North Carolina, he in Marfa, Texas. They flew to one another for a week or so at a time, hunkering in home studios to sort through and combine their separate song sketches. These shorter stints together produced less second-guessing and hesitation in their process, yielding an unabashed and unapologetic Wye Oak. The result is the biggest, broadest, boldest music they’ve ever made. Louder pursues a litany of modern malaises, each track diligently addressing a new conflict and pinning it against walls of sound, with the song’s subject and shape inextricably and ingeniously linked. The rapturous “Lifer,” for instance, ponders perseverance and survival in times of profound struggle. “Over and Over” finds Wasner alone at home, watching clips of violence abroad on repeat, her outrage outstripped only by her ineffectiveness.
The music—a sophisticated tessellation of pounded piano and loping bass, scattered drums and chirping synthesizer—is as complex and ponderous as the issues themselves. For all the struggles Wye Oak confront here, Louder ultimately reflects a hopeful radiance, with the parting sense that human connection and our own internal resolve can outweigh even our heaviest worries.
FORMAT INFORMATIONColoured LP Info: double gatefold jacket w/ printed inner sleeve + beige/blue split vinyl
Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.
CD Info: 4-panel wallet with booklet