CD Review: Wye Oak

The Knot (Merge)

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There was a popular black-pride slogan from the '70s (also the title of a 1994 album by the Halo Benders): "God Don't Make No Junk." Merge Records could truthfully market a similar T in honor of its 20th anniversary, paraphrased as "Merge Don't Sign No Junk." Baltimore duo Wye Oak are no junk, although they remain wildly inconsistent on their second record, The Knot. Like much of their debut, last year's If Children, The Knot provides a sometimes pleasing amalgam of shoegaze and Americana, with singer Jenn Wasner's uncanny resemblance to Tanita Tikaram — a German-British singer who had a brief moment of fame with her 1988 hit "Twist in My Sobriety" — giving much of her lyrics heft. The Knot's first half is strong, with "Take It In" showing the band at their poppiest. The record falters later on: "Mary Is Mary" is overly long and dull, and "That I Do" has a grating one-note hook. Separating the wheat from the chaff on Wye Oak's two records would leave a fine single one. Time will tell if Wye Oak can put together an all killer,no filler album. — Drabick

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