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  • Heal
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Heal
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Strand of Oaks is the project by songwriter/musician Tim Showalter which has to date tended to be positioned in that category of sensitive folk rock alongside peers like Bon Iver and Iron & Wine. For this new album "Heal" it appears that Showalter has been eating raw meat since this is firmly a a rock record and often a very hard rock record. The presence of J Mascis one of the greatest guitarists plugging into an amplifier on the opening track on "Goshen 97" tells a story in its own right. It is s thumping pile driving song with hooks to spare where Showalter declares "I found my dad's old tape machine/ That's where the magic began". The track sets the tone for a noisy and often brilliant album.

Other tracks of note include the edgy title track with its War on Drugs overtones and (bless his heart) an epic tribute to Jason Molina of Songs: Ohia entitled "JM", stretching over seven glorious minutes and ending with a guitar wig out not heard since "Cortez the Killer". Charting the difference on "Heal" between this unabashed rock approach and previous acoustic based records is nowhere more pronounced on the excellent "For Me" which has hints of the Smashing Pumpkins in its construction. Equally the "Same Emotions" sees him introduce synths and push into that territory which could actually produce a hit single. Finally the more sensitive side of Showalter returns on the final track "Wait for love" where he stretches out into a an expansive piano ballad which eventually breaks out to showers of bubbling synths and great vocals (a feature throughout the whole album).

"Heal" is really a significant shift from anything Showalter has previously done. Granted there were clues in his earlier work that he was a a songwriter who could paint on a wide palette and on "Pope Kilgradon" with plaintive songs like "Daniel's Blues" you sensed he could do a "Neil Young" to his compositions as they lend themselves to both acoustic and electric versions.This reviewer hopes that the previous purchasers of Showalter's work are not put off by this fork in the road that is "Heal" is far too great a record to ignore.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 24 June 2014
I bought this after hearing the single, Goshen '97, on the radio. The J Mascis guitar brought me in, but the song-writing made me stay!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 November 2014
Simply put this is the best album I've heard all year.
The opening track is a killer and immediately sets the tone for a piece of work that boasts a unique
sonic identity. The songs themselves are brilliantly written but the recording and production enhance everything immeasurably.
You can tell there's a clear idea of how he wanted these tracks to sound. Nothing feels superfluous. Every element belongs.
I actually had to stop myself listening after a while because I was afraid of killing the joy through overplay so I lent the
CD to a friend and deleted it from my computer. I miss it so much I've found myself watching live performances of Goshen '97 on Youtube while browsing. It really is that addictive.
Like any album of worth its greatness is not immediate so let it grow. It rewards repeat listening like few recordings I've heard in the last decade.
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on 19 November 2014
Really liked 'End In Flames' from a few years back, but most of Tim's stuff was a bit too quiet for my taste, but this is something else. From the opening guitar right through it is LOUD, but the songwriting still shines through. And if I'm truthful it's got me listening to the early stuff again, and then I play Heal again, and then the early stuff, you know what I'm saying... It's good, in fact I'm going to play it again now, see ya...
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on 8 September 2014
I love this album - have played it lots. Was initially tempted in by the great MP3 price but it has wormed its way onto my most listened to list.
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on 10 February 2015
Somewhere between the passion of Augustines and poise of War On Drugs. An absolute gem.
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on 20 August 2014
Very good, great mp3 price
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on 30 August 2014
A treat for your ears
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on 14 May 2015
Best cd ever
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on 9 April 2015
Worth a try
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