Wye Oak needs to step outside the music on My Neighbor/My Creator

Something about Wye Oak’s style — the sweet female vocals, the lush, strummed guitar, the odd bits of electronics — is instantly likeable. It sounds slightly left-of-center, but still feels familiar. After all, for all the duo’s interesting experiments, the song structures and vocals aren’t terribly hard to come by.

That said, the band seems to lose itself in its own trappings sometimes, notably on the faster songs on its newest short EP, My Neighbor/My Creator. The second song, “Emmylou,” has all the makings of a solid song: the heavily reverbed guitar and the harmonica solo midway through are by no means hurting the song. However, it just hurtles along for two and a half minutes without pausing to impart any affect to the listener.

Slower tracks, like the pretty “My Creator,” work much better. When the songs aren’t preoccupied with filling space with reverb and other effects, they have more impact. The picked guitar gives the instrument some space in the mix, and the horns that join a little later feel deserved.

The EP ends on the bizarre “That I Do (Mickey Free Remix),” which adds in a rapped verse to the vocals. Credit for the idea, but the execution — and overly electronic feel of the song — fall flat.

So there’s definitely some talent here — a lot of it, even — all Wye Oak needs to do is carefully evaluate what they’re trying to do with each song and let each instrument, and each sound, breathe a bit more. Then we have something really interesting on our hands.

Wye Oak – “My Creator” [MP3]

Purchase My Neighbor/My Creator here.

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