News \

Wye Oak, ‘Civilian’ (Merge)

By: Josh Modell // March 8, 2011

This Baltimore male-female duo’s third album alternates gorgeous currents of dread, catharsis, assurance, and doubt. Singer-guitarist Jenn Wasner’s voice and lyrics — smoky, seductive, strange — are perfectly framed by everything from chugging shoegaze (“Holy Holy”) to subdued thrum (“Fish”) to virtually nothing (the gutting closer “Doubt”). The title track brings it all together — a spooky, pretty lament that builds, improbably, to a shivering climax of Neil Young-ish guitar squall. Though made by only two people, Civilian never feels less than fully realized.