It’s been a little over two years since Wye Oak’s last album, the characteristically great The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs. Starting last year, it seemed like the duo of Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack were kicking off a new era for their project — standalone singles “Fortune,” “Fear Of Heights,” and “Walk Soft” preceded the JOIN tour, which found Wye Oak on the road right before the pandemic hit, with an expanded lineup aiming to erode the borders between their different eras and their individual projects. Just a couple weeks ago, Wasner returned with one of her other projects, Flock Of Dimes, surprise releasing an EP called Like So Much Desire. There was talk of a full-length Flock Of Dimes collection that’d follow, but first: There’s a new Wye Oak EP this summer as well.
Wye Oak’s newest collection is called No Horizon, and it’ll be out at the end of the month. Rather than something born from those standalone singles and the JOIN tour, it’s a whole other project that finds Wasner and Stack teaming up with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. For a while now — pretty much ever since 2014’s left turn Shriek — Wasner and Stack have been pushing at the limits of what Wye Oak can be, which seemed to be reiterated and expanded upon through the JOIN tour. No Horizon is another result of that impulse.
“There’s this sense of communion of making music with other people in real time and space, and that’s something that had eluded us on multiple levels,” Stack explained of the EP in a statement. “We’ve known for a while that we needed to learn how to let this project evolve so that it could continue to exist, because our partnership as friends and musicians and collaborators feels important,” Wasner added. “We need to find new ways to make it still feel vital and still feel new. And this is a part of that exploration.”
Along with the announcement, the band have shared a lead single called “AEIOU.” Here’s what Wasner had to say about it:
This song is about the inadequacy of language. It was written around the time that those currently in power took it upon themselves to think that they could minimize the existence of certain people by removing the words that we currently use to define them — like transgender — from use. Language is bigger than the powers that try to control it, but we are so much bigger than language. We are so much more than anything that can be suggested with words.
“AEIOU” is, as you might expect given the people involved, very gorgeous. It also manages to perfectly blend the idea of Wasner and Stack writing for a different format with a song that also still feels distinctly Wye Oak. It’s a slow, pulsing thing, the big payoffs always arriving with how the Chorus rises up around Wasner at various points. The track also comes with a lyric video with artwork by Eva Claycomb and animated by Bradley Hale. Check it out below.
02 “No Place”
03 “Spitting Image”
05 “Sky Witness”
The No Horizon EP is out 7/31 via Merge. Pre-order it here.