by Michaella Solar-March in New Music on Wednesday 8 October 2008

Verbs, the second album from Portland band AU (pronounced ‘ay you’), is surprising, and excitingly ahead of its time. Moving through 20-person chorus cries, subtle lullabies, whispered melodies, and screeching and scratched guitars, you never know where the journey will end. Psche-folk, freak-folk, electro-folk-noise, or whatever you want to call it, AU’s genre sprawling music paves the way for a wider breadth of experimentation in folk-inspired electronic production. We interviewed the group’s front man and founder, multi-instrumentalist Lyke Wyland.

Why did you bring on a full band for this new album? ‘I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of a very generous and amazing community of players here in Portland. The first album was made while I was transitioning from my time as an art student in Boston to moving back to Portland and the project was pretty much a solo one. Once I was firmly back in Portland, Au became a live band. Everyone who took part in the album are great friends and collaborators in other settings. It was a celebration of sorts of the community here and my hope was to somehow document it’.

How did parenthetical girls, Sarah Winchester and Becky Dawson, become involved?
‘Sarah Winchester and I have been old friends from our time at the Massachussetts College of Art in Boston. She was actually the first person to teach me how to sing, as I would back her up on banjo and accordion. Becky Dawson is a relatively new friend and incredible collaborator that I met about a year ago after seeing one of her other bands, Ah Holly Family. I instantly fell in love with her voice and asked her if she’d like to sing with me. The Parenthetical Girls are good friends that we’ve toured with in the past and by far one of my favorite bands in Portland’.