Jenn Wasner, vocals and guitar of Baltimore’s indie-rock duo Wye Oak, proves her incredible versatility in her debut album If You See Me, Say Yes, under her solo artist name Flock Of Dimes. This is exciting news, as efforts to push this forward have been put on the back-burner since the project’s inception in 2010.
If You See Me, Say Yes comes shortly after the release of the latest Wye Oak album Tween, and while it’s sometimes easy to be distracted from Wasner’s soothing vocals by the bass-heavy, distorted instrumentals of Wye Oak, her ethereal voice can be heard crystal clear in this new record. The melodies of every single song are gorgeous and relatable, frequently exuding electro/acoustic retro pop vibes. This self produced record, in collaboration with Mickey Freeland and Aaron Roche, is full of tracks can you easily sway to — a refreshing change of pace and strong contrast to the shoegaze sounds we’re familiar with.
The first single, Semaphore, a colourful and ridiculously catchy listen, describes Wasner’s way of communicating with those she loves while she’s at a distance on her own journey of self-discovery. Jen herself says the song reflects “communication over great distances — both literal, physical distance and the infinite space that exists between even the closest of people”. The sounds of guitar, bass, keyboard, and drums, infused with atmospheric, electro-pop elements, pair beautifully with the breathiness of her voice.
The record begins with Birthplace, an electronically experimental mellow, yet groovy pop song that excites you for what’s to come. Wasner intelligently incorporates synths throughout the record, especially in Flight and Apparition, with Ida Glow specifically adopting a more synthetic pop style, reminding you of some classic LCD Soundsystem. Given/Electric Life, though not too melodically diverse, is a mesmerising, dreamy track both instrumentally and vocally. The album concludes with …To Have No Answer, a continuation of the first 20 seconds of the album, Sometimes It Is Right... It’s an alluring piece that could easily be sung a capella. Eventually gaining more texture with warped sounds, it ends peacefully like its beginning, the entire song serving as a brief moment of meditation.
With vocals and lyrics equally as powerful as the instrumental, If You See Me, Say Yes is truly excellent, mature dream pop that’s hard not to love and connect with. This album reminds us that it’s okay to value meaningful human connection, but also thrive on solitude for inspiration and personal growth. With Jenn Wassner’s finesse and genuine passion for experimenting and evolving as an artist, it’s clear that she has no plans to settle creatively any time soon and will continue to push her musical boundaries.