• Record Label: Merge
  • Release Date: Mar 8, 2011
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. Mar 7, 2011
    80
    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.
  2. Mar 11, 2011
    70
    They create their own sonic world, one you may want join yourself once you dig into its layers.
  3. Mar 11, 2011
    79
    Civilian opens with the sound of ambient chatter, a room full of voices quickly washed away by steeled guitar and electronics. It's a shift at odds with the polar dynamics this Baltimore-based duo has sworn by in its half-decade career.
  4. Apr 7, 2011
    80
    Baltimore multi-instrumental duo Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack have raised their game with this third LP. [Apr 2011, p.103]
  5. Apr 22, 2011
    80
    There is plenty here to treasure here. [Apr 2011, p.111]
  6. May 18, 2011
    80
    Civilian [is] coming on like an odd, but most welcome hybrid. [Jun 2011, p.106]
  7. Mar 21, 2011
    70
    If Wasner has some demons to exorcise, let's selfishly hope she never quite gets at 'em.
  8. Mar 11, 2011
    100
    The added dynamism in Wye Oak's music makes the prettiest passages of Civilian that much more arresting, and the demons lurking beneath them all the more real.
  9. Mar 7, 2011
    60
    Civilian has just enough personality to stop it being completely pedestrian.
  10. Mar 7, 2011
    80
    Though made by only two people, Civilian never feels less than fully realized.
  11. Mar 11, 2011
    70
    It's impressively well-wrought music, though no longer as instantly engaging, requiring several listens before its charms truly take shape. [Apr 2011, p.122]
  12. 70
    Wye Oak should be highly commended for expanding their already strong sound. Let's just hope they leave in a tad more of their younger selves next time around.
  13. Mar 10, 2011
    60
    Even as it limits the album's appeal as much as it does the band's chances of broader success, Wye Oak's stylistic purity is a virtue in itself.
  14. Mar 7, 2011
    80
    On Civilian, the band shows that it can be serious without being overbearing, evocative without being histrionic, and accessible without being derivative.
  15. Mar 10, 2011
    80
    Civilian pushes Wye Oak to the head of the nu-shoegaze pack with a record as blissed out as it is maudlin, as rootsy and tough as it is fey and introspective.
  16. Oct 3, 2011
    69
    Though these variations are often enjoyable, particularly on an individual track level, taken as a whole they're just too slight, making Civilian difficult to fully engage with.
  17. Mar 8, 2011
    70
    Be it through incremental shifts and changes or grinding genres together to hear what comes out, Wye Oak know their influences in and out and work skillfully to blend them or highlight their differences as the song calls for it.
  18. Mar 17, 2011
    78
    In Civilian, quiet despair sounds like anything but.
  19. Mar 31, 2011
    88
    Here's one of the few first-quarter releases of 2011 that people will still be listening to in 2012.
  20. Maybe the way the album begins isn't supposed to put its 10 songs into the context of a live show, but certainly it ends the way you'd presume a Wye Oak show to close down: reflectively, with the audience's appreciation at first silent in captivation. Then, though it might not be audible on Civilian, well-deserved applause.
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Jul 26, 2011
    9
    Perhaps the most addictive album I've had the pleasure of purchasing and listening to since my first listen-through of In Rainbows byPerhaps the most addictive album I've had the pleasure of purchasing and listening to since my first listen-through of In Rainbows by Radiohead. This is a must buy. I bought this on a whim after I saw Wye Oak perform "Holy, Holy" live on the Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon, and boy was I pleasantly surprised to discover the remarkable construct of this lush masterpiece. If you have ANY doubts, go buy the CD (better sound quality than downloading it from iTunes). I definitely am a huge fan now! Full Review »
  2. Apr 4, 2011
    9
    Civilian is a big, lush-sounding album that brings you in close. It's Wye Oak's finest effort to date.
    Here's the review I wrote at
    Civilian is a big, lush-sounding album that brings you in close. It's Wye Oak's finest effort to date.
    Here's the review I wrote at Ludditestereo.net

    http://ludditestereo.net/2011/04/02/civilian-wye-oak-album-review/
    Full Review »