Strand of Oaks
Though the sound of Strand of Oaks' new album HEAL isn’t very cool (think My Morning Jacket, Ryan Adams, Coldplay, and Interpol all shuffled together at their best), the album should push Strand of Oaks from virtual unknown (despite years of genre-defying folk-ish albums) to a more widely heard project. With cosigns from Dead Oceans label-mates The Tallest Man on Earth and Phosphorescent, the record could have been a disaster as songs change dramatically in style from track to track and are only linked at times through the words.
The backstory doesn’t hurt, as Philly-based songwriter Timothy Showalter has spoken bluntly about the marital crisis, the drugs, and the near-death accident that inspired the cathartic collection. But HEAL is a reminder of how little all these periphery elements matter when you have good music in your hands. HEAL is an album that doesn’t need to be marketed—it's loaded with inspired songs that speak for themselves, and if we’ve seen anything this year from acts like The War on Drugs and Future Islands, cool is not a requirement to see your musical presence boom.
Sometimes all you need is a great album. HEAL is out June 24.