Strand Of Oaks - Hard Love album review

Invigorating fifth from Philly wildcat

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His previous albums have found Tim Showalter, aka Strand Of Oaks, scanning the emotional debris of his often troubled life through a prism of folk, power-pop and electronica. New album Hard Love is altogether more bullish, Showalter unleashing his inner rock beast on a collection of songs that seem to reach for some kind of epiphany through sheer volume.

With a biker riff indebted to both Primal Scream and The Cult, not to mention an admirable guitar solo from Jason Anderson, the mighty Rest Of It is a good-time party in celebration of all things decadent. Its mirrored by Quit It, a skanky epic with a Clash-like urgency that details Showalter’s psychedelic awakening at an Australian festival a couple of years ago. There are softer moments too, particularly the plangent Cry, while the suitably trippy drone of Taking Acid And Talking To My Brother recounts the aftermath of his sibling’s near-fatal heart attack