Wye Oak’s Evolving Sound on ‘Tween’

wye oaks evolving sound on tween oak press photo
Wye Oak Tween CoverLast Thursday, Wye Oak released a collection of eight songs, titled Tween. Running roughly 35 minutes, Tween is album-length, but the band is not referring to the release as an album proper. This is not the band’s follow up to Shriek. No, the collection is mostly pulled from songs recorded between 2011’s Civilian and 2014’s Shriek. Hence the title.

As the Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner described it to the Village Voice, “Making a record [is] similar to writing a novel. There’s an overall aesthetic, and you make decisions based around wanting something cohesive. And sometimes, you have songs that are [like] short stories, that don’t fit into that bigger picture. It didn’t make me want to release [these songs] any less — it was just that they never found a home.” The songs  on Tween don’t sound quite like the band’s heavy and rumbling older work, but neither do they have the icy chill exhibited by Shriek. “Watching the Waiting”—the video for which Wye Oak release alongside Tween—is startlingly serene, a simple joy to hear.

Even with some of the tracks coming out of left field, listeners will hear echoes of Civilian and recognize steps toward Shriek. “Better (For Esther)” begins like a classic Wye Oak song, brooding an elegiac. It builds that way for two minutes before breaking down into a brief, almost psychedelic section.

“On Luxury,” on the other hand, bears a stronger resemblance to Shriek with its synthesizers and a prominent, steady beat.  Into the final quarter of the song, though, the other instruments fade away as the drumming continues on, with a set of odd, experimental sounds eventually appearing.

That outro and other elements like it are make Tween what it is. The record is not entirely cohesive, but then that is not the point. Tween documents a band moving away from what they know into new territory, and there is a beauty in experiencing that transition.

Wye Oak’s Tween is out now digitally and available through Amazon, iTunes, and Merge Records’ online shop.

Travel

The Future of Luxury Air Travel Is Sleeping in the Cargo Hold

It should be far more luxurious than sleeping amid crated dogs and stacks of luggage.
Culture

11 Buzzworthy Podcasts Being Adapted Into TV Shows

Here are the latest and greatest podcasts to feature on the small screen, along with some rumored up-and-comers.
Outdoors

Prep Like a Survivalist With the 4 Best Bug-Out Bags

Hurricanes, locust swarms, alien invasion — no matter where you live, you’re at risk.
Auto

McLaren Reintroduces a Three-Seater Supercar with the Speedtail

Now you and your two best friends can hit 186 mph in 12.8 seconds together.
Food & Drink

The Best Playlist to Enjoy While Day Drinking

Next time you plan on day drinking, put on this Spotify playlist and ride the wave.
Music

New Music Preview: Kamasi Washington, Neko Case, and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

June has plenty of new album releases in store, but there are three particular records coming out this month that we can’t wait to hear.
Living

What You Need to Create the Ultimate Man Cave for Music Lovers

Immerse yourself in sound and style with these products perfect for your own personal listening room.
Music

Best Road Trip Songs: Hit Play Then Hit the Gas

Ah, the open road! It beckons us to cast aside responsibility, embrace the unknown, jump in the car, and just go. Take this mixtape with you.
Food & Drink

Sink Your Teeth Into the Best Summer Barbecue Playlist

Take your cookout from genetically modified slumping to organic, farm-to-table bumping.
Outdoors

Cut the Cord with the Best Wireless Headphones for Running

It's easier to get in the zone with your favorite tunes when you don't have to worry about pesky wires.
Music

How Bose Sleepbuds ‘Non-headphones’ Promise a Better Night’s Sleep

Replace snoring partners or screaming babies with soothing sounds to help you fall (and stay) asleep.
Music

The Best Funk Songs for Getting Down

From roller rinks to velvet lounges, funk is the grout between the tiles of life that keeps our bathtub all sparkly, scrubba-dub-dub fun.
Music

New Music Preview: Blood Orange, Ohmme, and Wild Nothing

August has plenty of new album releases in store, but there are three particular records coming out this month that we can’t wait to hear.