Even before this release, Baltimore natives Wye Oak had quickly ascended my personal list of favorite artists. With this, they cement themselves into the most rarified air of my all-time beloved musicians. All the pitfalls you hear and fear of the sophomore album are utterly non-existent as Jenn and Andy make a strong and organic thrust forward with The Knot (the first truly new album since signing to North Carolina-based Merge Records about a year and a half ago). They provide strong evidence that traditional songwriting has plenty of life left in it (take that leftfield and avant-garde!).
The thing that makes The Knot so grand is that it is a natural polishing of all the facets of their debut gem If Children. Jenn’s soaring vocals and big-riff, crashing guitars, Andy’s finessed drumming and mysterious, warm synth work, all these see some fantastic maturation. The interplay of all these elements becomes even more awe-inspiring in the context of a wider range of peaks and valleys, expansions and contractions. These elements give their sound a fresh sense of cavernous space and epic proportion that makes If Children appear almost claustrophobic by comparison.