I have to admit…I’ve never heard of the band Wye Oak, but they have all of a sudden appeared to be a front runner as one of my favorite songs of the year with “Civilian,” a slow to build rocker that displays deft guitar work and remarkable restraint. According to Wikipedia, Wye Oak hails from Baltimore and are only a 2-piece band. How they manage to create this kind of sound with only 2 people is beyond me however I LOVE how this song builds to a crescendo and then takes me to sweet oblivion with one of the best guitar solos I’ve heard in some time!
Lead singer Jenn Wasner has one of those voices that is soft & calming and it lulls you into the lyrics of the song. The lyrics are very poetic and have some lines of interest to me (“I don’t need another friend/when most of them/I can barely keep up with them/perfectly able to hold my own hand/but I still can’t kiss my own neck”) but it’s the guitar work of partner Andy Stack that catches my ear in this one and it’s his work at the end of the song that lifts it to new heights. At 2:35 he rips into one of the most earth-shattering solos and with Wasner singing ghostlike in the background, his guitar transforms the song into an experience…not just a song. Check it out for yourself. Sometimes I get excited about some pretty unusual things but I believe this song will be playing in my CD player for many months to come…and this solo will go down as one of my favorites of this year!
Wye Oak’s new album is due out in early March. Look for it at your favorite music shop and if you’re interested in what others are saying about “Civilian,” check out Spin Magazine’s review! Sounds like a winner to me!