Wye Oak has taken their blend of atmospheric folk and indie rock into new territory on their understated and tension-filled third release. Jenn Wasner’s guitar work moves from feathery acoustic strumming to piercing electric licks and squalling feedback, often within the same song. She’s also a mesmerizing singer with a sensual, mysterious, and husky voice that pulls you in. Andy Stack’s nimble, expressive drumming and subtle use of keyboards for the low end provide the ideal platform for their fluid songs. The duo offer their own take on the soft-loud-soft school of songwriting on the dynamic standouts “Holy Holy,” “Dogs Eyes,” “Hot As Day,” and the title track, which are anchored by controlled bursts of sound. Balancing them out are languid dream-pop cuts “The Alter” and “Plains” that highlight their strong melodic sense. Setting these already good songs apart is the inventive production: varied layers of sonic textures are woven into the tunes so smoothly that the studio effectively acts as a third band member. Wye Oak’s first two albums were good. This one is great.

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