Wye Oak - Shriek
Critic Score
Based on 21 reviews
2014 Ratings: #304 / 965
User Score
Based on 91 ratings
2014 Ratings: #193
April 29, 2014 / Release Date
LP / Format
Merge / City Slang / Label
Indie Pop / Genres / Website
Sign In to rate and review


A.V. Club

Departures rarely sound this confident—it helps that Shriek builds off of the major songwriting strides made by Civilian.


Shriek is a powerful reminder of how refreshing and affecting bands can be if they have the confidence, self-awareness and ambition to look beyond their usual horizons.

The Line of Best Fit

Shriek is perhaps not what we expected from a Wye Oak record, but it’s blinding nonetheless, and, while destroying any preconceived notions of the band, lodges itself near the top – if not at the top – of their canon.

The Skinny

With Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner writing apart this time, and on a wider range of instruments, Shriek is their brightest, fullest work to date.


It’s been a long wait, but Wye Oak are beginning to blossom.


Sure, the sound of Shriek may scare off people who need guitars to be the focal point of their indie rock, but for anyone with a slightly more experimental nature or anyone who likes synths and subtlety and wonderfully emotive vocals, it's a great and welcome surprise that's a brilliant step forward for Wye Oak.

Under The Radar

It's still got that rough-hewn, faltering-gear quality that bubbles up to make the group's most basic indie rock gems uniquely their own. It's simply a different iteration of a known quantity.

Pretty Much Amazing

Remarkably, the absence of guitar from the equation opens the door for Wasner and Stack to play in a much more delightfully ambiguous environment. 


Don’t let the soft lighting fool you: Wasner’s bass reverberates with nearly the same tension as her six-string, fortifying songs like “The Tower” and “Glory” with a stiff, funky backbone.

Drowned in Sound

Producing a pop-infused package that channels both Stack and Wasner's strengths, this is an album that seems to scratch the surface of the band's creative experimentation.


On Shriek, it's Wasner's vocals that steal the show: assertive, confident, and best exemplified on one of the standout tracks, the bass-driven "Glory."


Its esoteric nature and personal themes will likely result in it being a cherished cult album without the widespread popularity of its predecessor.

The 405

This album is more of a reset than a reinvention, ditching the guitar was meant to make or break them, but it's kind of done neither. 


Ultimately, Shriek is an admirable reinvention. Following their muse could very well lose them fans, but Wye Oak’s fearlessness is a rare commodity in our formulaic age. 

Consequence of Sound

Shriek – although uneven in spots — feels like a natural progression for Wasner and Stack, with the synths handling the same rhythms and higher register melodies once reserved for the guitars.

Shriek is Wye Oak beginning to explore synth spaces with more gusto. Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack balance each other nicely on this album. Something I love about Wye Oak's sound is the anxious movement that motivates their music. The synthesizers give Shriek some extra depth; the songs become 3 dimensional in the way melodies swell and tuck into one another. 'Glory' finds Wasner singing some of her most esoteric lyrics, but the song builds and bounces. I like the juxtaposition of strange word ... read more
With Wye Oak’s “Civilian,” Jenn Wasner seemed to have perfected her band’s signature dense, noisy, guitar-heavy style of indie rock. “Shriek” at first appears to resemble the stereotypical turn towards synths which so many rock bands feel inclined to make in the dubious name of musical progression, and which rock fans have been conditioned to view with skepticism. But with Wasner, the evolution feels like a logical progression. Wye Oak has always been as much ... read more
Shriek is Wye Oak’s first album since Civilian, which garnered them national name recognition. And so there’s a lot of pressure associated with this faux-sophmore album. But as far as how this album compares to their previous albums, I’ve never felt the need to do that to an artist. Civilian is a fantastic, but different album. And by the time you get to “Logic of Color” you won’t care what came “Before” because there is no bad song on this album. ... read more
Maybe it's not as good as Civilian, but you know what? I like it. I think I'm just into what Wye Oak is doin.
Purchasing Shriek from Amazon helps support Album of the Year. Or consider a donation?
Become a Donor
Donor badge, no ads + more benefits.

Year End Lists

#9/Under the Radar

Track List

  1. Before
  2. Shriek 
  3. The Tower
  4. Glory
  5. Sick Talk
  6. Schools of Eyes
  7. Despicable Animal
  8. Paradise
  9. I Know the Law
  10. Logic of Color
Sign in to comment
No one has said anything yet.

Added on: January 29, 2014