In Heaven is already the seventh album by the US rock project Strand of Oaks. I received the album from a promotion company and simply loved its style – here are my thoughts about the eleven tracks, which have been released on 1st October 2021.
Strand Of Oaks – About The Artists
The mastermind behind Strand of Oaks is Timothy Showalter. He was born on 20th July 1982 in Goshen, Indiana, East of Chicago. Nowadays Tim, how he is typically called, is living in Austin, Texas. Some of the first songs he released were experiences from a detrimental marriage, which finally lead to his house being burned down. The first Strand of Oaks album was Leave Ruin in 2009. From then on, he quite regularly released new Strand of Oaks songs. The last album was Eraserland in 2019. Some of the musicians featured on the album are Bo Koster (Roger Waters) and Cedric LeMoyne (Alanis Morissette).
Strand Of Oaks – In Heaven – Track by Track
The eleven song album lasts 43 minutes.
I believe that ecstasy happens when we all get together
Standing right in front of me feeding off the energy together
Looking for identity freaking out a little bit together
Just like when we were kids all the bad things we did together
In Heaven is a very emotional album reflecting about different kinds of experiences and feelings. Thereby, Galacticana was the first single which Showalter released. A typical Strand of Oaks track – at lot of rock, but always a touch of folk music as well.
Easter has a touch of The Killers to me. Rock sounds mixed with electronic elements. It takes a while to get into it (glad that the track is four minutes) – but finally, you have to say that it works out.
But you’re fooling me
I think you’re fooling me
I’m moving to the city in my dreams
Despite the title, this song is not hurrying at all. The third song on the album is rather slow. A song with very impressive, a touch of ironic lyrics.
This world’s not meant for me
Till our bodies go back to the water
4. Horses at Night
The fourth song is another rather slow one. It is not as present as the songs before, even though it is creating a nice atmosphere with a lot of echo and acoustic guitars. Nice vocal performance as well.
5. Somewhere in Chicago
Especially in the verses, this song has a strong folk and Americana touch – the song itself has its very repetitive parts – which on the one hand makes it stay in your mind very well – on the other hand, it is also boring me a bit.
6. Jimi & Stan
Jimi and Stan in heaven
Making friends going to shows
In my dreams, I just hope they’re having a blast
Jimi found Stan in heaven sitting in a sun-filled room
All the galaxy in view
Jimi and Stan
Okay, that’s the weirdest one of the album. The story of the song: Jimi Hendrix and Stan meet in heaven and enjoy concerts. Which might not be that weird – if you wouldn’t know that Stan has been a cat. The song has a lot of power – and the more I listen to it, the more I love it.
Is Bono around? If Strand of Oaks would play this one as an opener of an U2 show, people might think they are a tribute band. Quite a similar style. Well produced – but I still feel, there is a bit of touch missing to make it a really good song.
The first thing which caught me about Carbon is the fiddle played by Scott Moore. Not too much more Americana sound there, though – the song has a classic 1990’s rock feeling – but the fiddle is ceaselessly creating a special touch in this song.
9. Sister Saturn
Sister Saturn comes with a nice groove. The song is powerfully driven my hammering guitar riffs. Cool sound, which is again introducing quite some electronic features as well.
I wouldn’t say that there are good and bad songs on the album, but there are songs like Slipstream: somehow well-written and produced, but they just don’t add too much touch to the album. Not a track for the skip button, but a bit of less fascination and love for this one.
11. Under Heaven
The album closes with its title track. Less than two minutes, just the piano and Showalter – a personal message at the end of this release
Strand Of Oaks – In Heaven – Spotify
Here is In Heaven on Spotify
Strand Of Oaks – In Heaven – My View
In Heaven is a good listen with some really great songs. Others tend to be more in the average and upper average region. Thus, this 2021 edition of Strand Of Oaks music is a good companion if you like rock with an electronic and folk touch – but not a must-buy if you are not a fan.
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