Ten years after its release, Wye Oak's Civilian remains a raw, sinewy punch of a record - bleak and intense and lonely and self-assured all at once. The album unravels with the sort of self questioning and uncertainty that come with youth, and its specific confidence in unflinchingly probing all of those emotions, feeling them to their deepest extent even when it's tearing you apart at the seams.
When Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner released Civilian, it marked both the ascension and death of Wye Oak, or at least a version of it. Now, a decade later, Civilian + Cut All The Wires: 20092011 delves back into that pivotal record and adds a lost album of 12 unreleased tracks and demos to Civilian's universe.
Sonic paradoxes abound: The mellow "Sinking Ship" is preceded by the wall-of-sound grunginess that roars through "Half A Double Man". A pared-down acoustic Daytrotter live session of "Two Small Deaths" dovetails into the jangling "Holy Holy" demo. The closing lyrics over the frenetic, screeching feedback of "Electricity" lend the anniversary release its title: "There's nothing about you that I don't adore / Show me these rooms and I'll show you the way to the door / Walk me through / I'll cut all the wires and spend my life with you."
On the occasion of its 10th anniversary, Stereogum described Civilian as "an album of hellos and goodbyes at the same time, introducing us to everything Wye Oak could be, before setting the stage for the other Wye Oaks we'd soon get to know, and the all the others we've still yet to meet."
It's rare that a band gets better after releasing a few albums; usually their initial inspiration gets used up and they are left foundering. Wye Oak have done it, and on Civilian, they insert themselves into the upper echelon of indie rock bands.
- 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
- Green Swirl Vinyl
- Double LP
- Original album
- Bonus album of unreleased tracks & demos
- Gatefold sleeve with dual front cover
- Full color printed dust sleeves with lyrics
- Limited time digital download card
LP 1 - Civilian
- Two Small Deaths
- The Alter
- Holy Holy
- Dogs Eyes
- Hot As Day
- We Were Wealth
LP 2 - Cut All The Wires: 2009-2011
- Civilian (Demo)
- No Words
- Half A Double Man
- Sinking Ship
- Two Small Deaths (Daytrotter Session)
- Holy Holy (Demo)
- Black Is The Color
- Ten Fingers
- I'm Proud