Wye Oak team up with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus for the EP No Horizon | Music Review | Chicago Reader

Wye Oak team up with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus for the EP No Horizon 

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click to enlarge Wye Oak

Wye Oak

Courtesy of Merge Records

Experimental indie duo Wye Oak make their commitment to reinventing their music feel like an integral part of their art: whether they’re incorporating shades of folk rock or R&B or even scraps of their earliest songs (as they did on 2016’s Tween), it always comes across like a natural progression. On their new five-track EP, No Horizon, they embrace their most avant-pop side by recording with the Grammy-winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Opening track “AEIOU” ponders mankind’s complex relationship with language; it was prompted in part by the Trump administration’s attempts to manipulate language to further marginalize vulnerable populations. But rather than protest with anger or rage, Wye Oak turn confrontation into a sweet breeze of liberation: singer, guitarist, and bassist Jenn Wasner steadfastedly demands to be addressed by the name she’s given herself while the choir rhythmically circles through the alphabet’s five full-time vowels. Elsewhere, Wye Oak grapple with the impacts of technology on society: “No Place” seems to be about pandemic social distancing, but its mournful piano, icy synths, and questioning layers of vocals serve as a reminder that isolation and modern life went hand in hand long before the virus ever emerged. No Horizon uses unconventional song structures that sometimes feel better suited to a musical production or film score, but Wasner’s guitar playing and earthy vocals keep it connected to the indie realm. The EP makes its bleak, heavy subject matter sound airy, dreamy, and (no doubt partly due to all the kids involved) fresh.   v

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