Reviews

Strand Of Oaks
Hard Love

(Dead Oceans)

5/10

Strand of Oaks didn’t mean to create an album that feels like a compilation, but it doesn’t stop ‘Hard Love’ sounding like a different band is playing each track. Singer Tim Showalter clearly has stories he wants to tell, but with a kaleidoscope approach where the heavy, grunge reverb of ‘Everything’ and The Gaslight Anthem spirit of ‘Radio Kids’ anchor the first half of the album, the Coldplay indulgence of ‘Cry’ marks a quick-fire shift of styles that never quite feel connected.

The shanty sound of ‘Salt Brothers’ is raucously charming in a late-night lock-in kind of way but then ‘Quit It’ becomes Iggy Pop and ‘Rest Of It’ sets off on a raucous Rolling Stones strut. The intent is apparent on the aired-out guitar of ‘On the Hill’ and the heavy psych trip of ‘Taking Acid and Talking To my Brother’ as it rivals any of Black Mountain’s weirdest wig outs, but for all of the influences (and solid tracks) heard here, the lack of coherence only creates confusion.

Support Loud And Quiet from £4 per month and we'll post you our next 9 magazines

As all of us are constantly reminded, it’s getting harder for independent publishers to stay in business, which applies to Loud And Quiet more now than ever, 14 years after we first started printing a magazine that we’ve always given away for free.

Having thought about the best way to support the costs of what we do (the printing and server fees, the podcast and video production costs etc.) we’d like to ask our readers who really enjoy what we do to subscribe to our next 9 issues over the next 12 months. The cheapest we can afford to do this for is a recurring payment of £4 per month for UK subscribers. If you really start to hate it you can cancel at any time. The same goes for European subscriptions (£7 per month) and the rest of the world (£9 per month).

It’s not just a donation – you’ll receive a physical copy of our magazine through your door, and some extra perks detailed on our subscribe page. Digital subscriptions are available worldwide for £15 per year. We hope you consider this a good deal and the best way to keep Loud And Quiet in your life without its content, independence or existence suffering.