Wye Oak: “Watching The Waiting”

Wye Oak’s Tween is perfectly named. The transitional album surprise-dropped earlier this summer, featuring a handful of songs that were stuck in a liminal state between 2011’s indie rock masterpiece Civilian and the experimental pop of 2014’s Shriek. Odds-and-ends collections like these usually only appeal to the super-fan, but Wye Oak’s castoffs are quietly innovative. You hear Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack pushing against expectations, mixing guitar pyrotechnics with electronic steeliness.

On “Watching The Waiting,” Wye Oak sounds unshackled, sprinting through a bright-eyed, folk-pop stunner that’s unlike anything else in the band’s catalog. “I’m sitting here watching myself / watching you,” Wasner coolly sings, stuck in stasis. But musically, Wye Oak proves that they’re growing steadily, hitting that Spoon zone of solid, methodical brilliance. They only have more interesting tree limbs to climb from here.

“Watching The Waiting” appears on Tween, out now via Merge. Wye Oak plays live in our Studio 1A on Thursday, August 11 at 2:30 p.m. and later that night at the Mohawk.

–Art Levy // host, Sundays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., producer, My KUTX

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