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Amazon's Wye Oak Store


Image of album by Wye Oak


Image of Wye Oak


"nervy, charged music, buzzing like a brain in heat" — Pitchfork

"atmospheric and vivid" — SPIN

"Wherever Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack follow their muse, it’s going to be good." — Stereogum

Wye Oak

Jenn Wasner and ... Read more in Amazon's Wye Oak Store

Visit Amazon's Wye Oak Store
for 5 albums, 12 photos, discussions, and more.

Frequently Bought Together

Civilian + The Knot + SHRIEK
Price For All Three: £33.17

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Product details

  • Audio CD (7 Mar. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: City Slang
  • ASIN: B004FJ63SA
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,275 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Two Small Deaths 3:50£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. The Alter 3:42£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Holy Holy 4:35£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Dogs Eyes 3:24£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Civilian 3:40£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Fish 4:49£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Plains 3:45£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Hot As Day 3:50£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. We Were Wealth 4:38£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Doubt 2:27£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

BBC Review

Wye Oak are from Baltimore. This is worth mentioning upfront because the music of Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack couldn’t be more different from the B-More image given to us by repeat viewings of The Wire and the booty-quaking beats of the club-rap scene if it wore lederhosen and was entirely played on tubas. Wye Oak are not black, urban nor dirty south; they are white, thoughtful, restrained and immaculately studenty. They have, after previous albums If Children and The Knot, been described as indie-folk, but probably won’t be after this leap forward into poised alt-pop.

Civilian fits perfectly within a music scene currently charmed by the futurist blue-eyed soul of The xx, Anna Calvi and James Blake, not because Wye Oak sound remotely like any of those three, but because they all share a certain mood. A perennially night-time mood of quiet storm intensity, of florid emotions repressed into sensual whispers and twilight moans.

Singer/guitarist Wasner and multi-instrumentalist Stack choose to design this mood with drums, piano, organ and guitars in love with both The Cure’s Faith album and post-My Bloody Valentine shoegaze. The gorgeous drift of their sad melodies is lent something extra-special by the voice of Wasner, which sometimes sounds like Christine McVie mumbling at a bus stop, or both sisters from School of Seven Bells, or – fair enough – a diffident, slightly distracted and possibly post-coital folk singer. The three songs that begin Civilian – Two Small Deaths, The Altar and the heart-stopping Holy Holy – carve out a space concerned with love, death and God, and are so good that one expects the rest of the record to disappoint. Instead, Civilian keeps on immersing you in its shimmering loveliness, creating and sustaining a soundscape that moves between calm and anxiety with a natural grace that borders on the sublime.

The shoegaze revival that permeates so much current indie-pop is fascinating. Because it’s the first time that a specific sound has been revived and – originators MBV and Cocteau Twins aside – vastly improved upon. Civilian pushes Wye Oak to the head of the nu-shoegaze pack with a record as blissed out as it is maudlin, as rootsy and tough as it is fey and introspective. It will soundtrack many lonely nights in many halls of residence… and is sexy enough to soundtrack a few less lonely ones, too.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Guyt on 4 Oct. 2013
Format: Audio CD
Like a lot of people, I discovered Wye Oak on the "Walking Dead. Season 2" television series. One of their songs, "Civilian", was used to close one the episodes, "8 Miles Out":


I just fell in love with the tune, so I rushed to my computer to order their CD, hoping I would get a couple of other great songs. When I got the CD, I listened to it 3 times in a row. The last time that I did that, it was with "Seventeen Seconds" from the Cure, more than 30 years ago.

What surprises me is that I was never found of female singers, probably because I can't relate. But this girl from Baltimore, boy, she moves me, inside out.

Anyways, if you like that tune from Walking Dead, don't hesitate to get the whole album, "Civilian" is simply the best album I bought in a long time.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Red on Black TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 July 2011
Format: Audio CD
Cynicism is a terrible thing and upon receiving a copy of "Civilian" by Wye Oak it was thrown to one side and landed on top of the pile marked "Beach House'. After all singer-guitarist Jenn Wasner and drummer-keyboardist Andy Stack come from Baltimore Maryland the home of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally's sultry duo and take on the shape of that band. In addition having recently visited Baltimore and finding it more than most big US cities to be thoroughly dangerous in certain parts but countered by the excellent inner harbour of Chesapeake Bay all led to mixed feelings which were taken out irrationally on Wye Oak. This was totally un-called for since "Civilian" is an LP of beautiful noise and some of the most commercial shoegaze music that will ever cross your path. For a start Wasner has a voice which draws you in with a ghostly yet attractive warble which is underpinned on occasions by a huge cacophony just when you didn't expect it. Take the wistful "Dog Eyes" which sounds out sounding like an updated version of "Message in a Bottle" only to be interspersed by huge walls of feedback driven guitar. Granted it is the use of the old Pixies format of "quiet LOUD quiet" but it also has real charm and accessibility. These factors are even more pronounced on the glorious title track full of latent regret and deserving the label "hit single" to be attached to it. Lyrically you melt when Stacks drums slow and Wasner sings "I wanted to give you everything/but I still stand in awe of superficial things/I wanted to love you like my mother's mother's mothers did/Civilian" who then follows this with a feedback led guitar solo not heard since Neil Young recorded "Weld".

The good news is that the best is yet to come.
Read more ›
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Reynolds on 17 Nov. 2011
Format: Audio CD
'Civilian' is the third album by Baltimore duo Wye Oak and it carries an eclectic blend of wistful folk, noise and funereal atmospherics. It's all rather grainy at the start of opener 'Two Small Deaths' as a background of cackling voices and hubbub is slowly drowned out by a persistent drum click and slow burning vocals complemented with a jutting, chiming guitar across a kaleidoscope of keyboard layers.

The album has a salubrious amount of darkness. Not in a sombre, grumpy way but more in an uplifting, resolute, inspiring mode. Rather than a rushed format the songs are cleverly crafted and the compositions have a delicate and thoroughly thought-out process that makes them affable and hypnotic. 'Holy Holy' is a hybrid of urgent guitar and Jenn Wasner's ethereal vocals really complement the heavy bass-drum beats.

The album's title track is the standout; the echo laden MBV influenced guitar, the pummelling drums and droning organ sound are simply irresistible together and the warts-and-all production puts it in the 'joy to listen to' category. 'Plains' is much more alt-country in its introduction, but the haunting piano and noise riddled guitar bring the house down during the song's finale and prevent it sinking in MOR territory.

They close with the stripped-bare 'Doubt', just Jenn and a guitar. It's rather haunting and brittle but the soaring yet sinister vocals cant dampen the spirit of artistic imagination in this beautiful album. If this becomes their epitaph, and let's hope its not for a long time, it will be a more than fervent send off for a truly great collection of tracks.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Stephen E. Myatt on 9 Jun. 2011
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
real good album, loved this band so much when they were on bbc radio 6music that i bought it soon as it came out. whilst its not perfect, her vioce could be better, the songs and ideas on show here really are up with Arcade Fire stuff, n i love them! So try em, you might like it, or you might help a new band, how can ya lose?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 48 reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Immersed in Civilian 13 May 2011
By Rachel - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
With Civilian, Wye Oak has mastered the art of creating songs that swell and progress to peaks of ultimate complexity. Many of the tracks begin with the spotlight placed squarely on Jenn's smooth, subtle, yet powerfully sultry vocals, only to have the mood tempered by distorted guitar riffs and resonating percussion. Although the general feel of the music is one of melancholy, the mesmerizing lyrics and diaphonous undertones keep the album from becoming too dark and burdensome. Heavy topics are approached with a sort of cautious intensity that carefully toes the line between drawing listeners in and pushing them over the edge.

The group has been tossed into the indie/lo-fi category--one that is overflowing with aesthetically similar musicians who ultimately have little in common, aside from their affinity for creating probing and consequential music. In a genre where anything goes, Wye Oak has responded by developing an entirely novel offering--from the introductory track's opening note to the album's final fade, there is nothing contrived or derivative to be found. Comparisons can be drawn to several of the band's contemporaries, from Rogue Wave to Pavement, but fans expecting a rehashed version of such artists' respective albums are in for an unanticipated treat.

Because Civilian is much more polished and produced than it's predecessors, it is more accessible. That being said, the band has stayed their direction, and their material has maintained the nuances and intricacies that brought them to the attention of so many discerning listeners. This album is a rarity, in that it will delight loyal fans and newcomers alike. The lyrical genius, gorgeous vocals, and singular instrumental arrangements make Civilian more than an experience of passive listening, but, as alluded to on the album's cover art, one more akin to musical immersion.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Fewer ideas and directions would be better 15 Dec. 2011
By loce_the_wizard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I get why folks like Wye Oak but what I cannot figure is why everyone seems to love "Civilians." It is a good, but not great, recording. Jenn Wasner, who sounds quite a bit like Sonya Kitchell (which is meant as a compliment), shines on some songs but seems lost in the mix on others. Andy Stack, when restrained just a bit, handles the multi-instrumentalist role with aplomb, but I think things can quickly become too strident, throwing some songs, (e.g., Dogs Eyes, Wealth) off balance. Put another way, fewer ideas and directions would be better in many places. Once the melody meanders too far, it just is not that pleasant. And the track Plains meanders in a different way, sort of an aimless ramble that never gets anywhere.

That said, when Wye Oak nails a song, such as the title track, this duo shows its true strength and potential. This is one of those recordings I like well enough and I think it is worth a listen, though it ultimately does not completely satisfy as a recording that qualifies for a ringing endorsement.
30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Will this be Wye Oak's breakthrough? 8 Mar. 2011
By Heavy Theta - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
(Do bands still have breakthroughs in today's incompetent music industry?) With their third album the Baltimore duo have found a sound that is not derivative, but genuinely haunting. While it is easy enough to categorize just about any group (shoegazing in this case?), it would not only callously overlook what is truly an original voice, something fairly rare these jaded later days of contemporary/alternative, but more importantly fail to appreciate the genuinely affecting experience of wrapping oneself into the sublime emotion offered here. Holy Holy, Doubt and the title track are each strong enough to gain airplay, so I hope that somehow this disc creates enough buzz to lend support to young artists who have discovered a connection to what deserves to be a decent run.
31 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Record DOES come with download code. 26 April 2011
By Sylvia Chi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
In case you were wondering: this album does come with a download code for the full album. I think it's the case that most (but not all?) new records these days come with codes to download the album digitally. Civilian comes with a code that lets you download the album up to 3 times from the Merge Records website. It's very easy to download, and comes in 320 kbps mp3s with no DRM.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
At year's midpoint, my choice for album of the year so far.... 25 Jun. 2011
By Mad Man - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
To my ears, it took Wye Oak three albums to hit their full stride. The first two albums had incredible moments, but would get a little drifty in stretches. This release is involving throughout and consistently surprises the listener with interesting and unusual sounds brought into the mix. Their sound has continue to evolve and develop from album to album to achieve greater depth in their music. When I think of some of my favorite bands who have released new albums this year, none have truly impressed me and some have downright disappointed. Arcade Fire's The Suburbs was alright, but I'm not inclined to play it as I have with their previous work. The Arctic Monkeys and The Kills released truly trite, wholly forgettable recordings. And The Strokes new album was listenable, even enjoyable, but ultimately a disappointing effort after so many years outside the studio. By contrast, Civilian will remain in my rotation for sometime to come.
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