Artists often try to avoid hitting a creative rut by reinventing themselves, but few do it quite as thoroughly as Wye Oak. When it came time to write material for its fourth full-length album, Shriek, the duo decided to dispense with the instrument that had previously been central to its sound. Singer Jenn Wasner swapped her six-string guitar for a four-string bass, leaving drummer-keyboardist Andy Stack more space to fill with silvery synth tones. The new material is just as lyrically dense and emotionally gripping as the old, but the songs are dreamier and more hypnotic, which should make for a compelling show when Wye Oak plays Venue on Wednesday (July 16). Next time out, they’ll probably drop the bass in favour of a homemade marimba.
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