Wye Oak - Civilian + Cut All the Wires: 2009-2011 10th Anniversary Deluxe 2LPMerge Records
Ten years after its release, Wye Oak’s Civilian remains a raw, sinewy punch of a record—bleak and intense and lonely and self-assured all at once. The album unravels with the sort of self-questioning and uncertainty that come with youth. When Andy Stack (Joyero, Lambchop) and Jenn Wasner (Flock of Dimes) released Civilian, it marked both the ascension and death of Wye Oak, or at least a version of it. Now, a decade later, this deluxe edition delves back in.
Cut All the Wires: 2009–2011, a 12-song collection of rare and unreleased tracks and demos culled from the Wye Oak archives, is an extension of the bruised and aching Civilian. Sonic paradoxes abound: the mellow “Sinking Ship” is preceded by the wall-of-sound grunginess that roars through “Half a Double Man.” A pared-down acoustic Daytrotter live session of “Two Small Deaths” dovetails into the jangling “Holy Holy” demo. The closing lyrics over the frenetic, screeching feedback of “Electricity” lend the anniversary release its title: “There’s nothing about you that I don’t adore / Show me these rooms / and I’ll show you the way to the door / Walk me through / I’ll cut all the wires and spend my life with you.”