The title track of “The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs”—the triumphant fifth album by Wye Oak—is a coil of anxiety and exuberance, its verses and chorus sweeping into cascades of magnetic harmony. By the time the song ends, it has bloomed into an undeniable pop anthem, a spell to be shouted against the ills of our world.
For Louder, Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack flew to one another’s cities—she in Durham, North Carolina, he in Marfa, Texas—for a week or so at a time, hunkering in home studios to sort through and combine their separate song sketches. These shorter stints together produced less second-guessing and hesitation in their process, yielding an unabashed and unapologetic Wye Oak. They discarded past rules about how to write a record, instead funneling all those experiences and experiments into perfectly unified statements.
The result is the biggest, broadest, boldest music Wye Oak has ever made. “Louder” pursues a litany of modern malaise, each of its dozen tracks diligently addressing a new conflict and pinning it against walls of sound, with the song’s subject and shape inextricably and ingeniously linked. It arrives at a time of immense doubt, when our personal problems are infinitely compounded by a world that seems in existential peril. But these songs answer the challenge by radiating self-reflection and resolve, wielding hooks and musical intricacy as a shield against the madness of the moment.