Label: Affairs Of The Heart Release date: 30/08/09 Website: http://www.myspace.com/wyeoak Wye Oak are Baltimore duo Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack. Their music? Melancholic pop...dispondent shoegaze...reluctant angst. Following from their debut If Children, this album is less Carissa's Weird more a whole melting pot of orchestral post-rock mixed together with aching boy/girl harmonies and a sprinkling of country. “Milk and Honey” is effectively a two minute microcosm of the album. With its sparcity in vocals and lyrics the music does the talking and evocation of mood. Not that this means there is no need for lyrics here. Projected in a Chan Marshall smokiness; they seem to slowly wisp their way out after several listens. Shrouded behind the layers of sounds and instruments and placed almost deliberately low in the mix makes the vocals all the more sensuous and the lyrics consequentially all the more ominous. But hand in hand with this it lends them a poignancy made all the more potent by the time the words finally hit our ears. Opening timidly in the first minute of the album opener the sound gradually cressendoes over the ten tracks, climaxing at "Mary is Mary", and slowly creeping out into an orchestral immensity of soundscape. At points it is as if the feedback and distortion are unsure whether to break through...if they should have a place in this beautiful noise. Though it is this timidity which is appealing, never coming across as representative of a lack of artistic surety. Unlike too many artists trying to be "out-there" adventourous, creating some haberdashery of noise from all of their favourite clashing influences, Wasner and Stack aren’t so much lost in the interpretation of the sound they wish to create but would rather knot it all neatly together. And in listening they seem to do with the greatest of ease. Sparsity and excess can have a perfect marriage in the world of Wye Oak. It won’t grab everyone initially but for fans of the post rock, shoe gaze of the late 80's and early 90’s this band read like a 21st Century back catalogue of all of our favourite moments. Rating: 8/10