Recording information: Beat Baies, Baltimore, MD; Mick Mansion, Baltimore, MD; The Doghouse, Brooklyn, NYC; The Wazoleum, Durham, NC.
While balancing her full-time role as one-half of artful indie duo Wye Oak, Jenn Wasner has been quietly dishing out atmospheric bedroom pop singles under the name Flock of Dimes. Flying under the radar since 2010, this solo endeavor finally comes to fruition on If You See Me, Say Yes, her first full-length release with the project. Introspective and warmly meditative, Wasner paints her canvas with gentle, percolating synths, lush harmonies, and clever rhythmic shifts. Even in its darker turns, the album is imbued with a sunlit late afternoon tone that agrees with the singer's personal reflections. Songs like "Everything Is Happening Today" and "Semaphore" are knockouts in terms of both craft and songwriting, with strong chorus hooks and a lush, dreamy soundscape providing the frame. The pulsing synth pop of "Ida Glow" recalls Goldfrapp's early days, while the moody "Apparition" is more in keeping with the brooding experimentation of Wye Oak's Tween LP that arrived earlier in the year. As with much of Wasner's work, plenty of attention is paid to the details, and her intricate guitar parts weave stealthily throughout the skittering beats and careful synth layers, building a unique world well-suited for rumination. Bright and hopeful, the penultimate track, "You, The Vatican," coalesces in a beguiling swirl of descending arpeggios, setting up the gently cascading vocal stacks of closer "... To Have No Answer." Personal yet inviting, If You See Me, Say Yes is a lovely debut and a strong addition to Wasner's growing canon. ~ Timothy Monger
Magnet - "Just when you think you can see the calligraphic flourishes coming, Wasner unleashes a new, startling wake-up call, be it a timeless signature, an overwhelming affirmation or a corporeal rave."