Strand Of Oaks: Heal

A sublime slice of synth- rock psychotherapy.

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Tim Showalter’s had a lot of healing to do. A lifetime of regrets, a faltering marriage, three weeks of furious musical soul-searching and a near fatal car crash went into creating the urgent agonies of his fourth Strand Of Oaks album, all of it utterly worthwhile.

Heal is a triumph of cathartic rock, from the pumping Americana grit of Goshen ’97 – a misty-eyed homage to his carefree youth transformed by a guesting J Mascis into a grunge Motorcycle Emptiness – through an 80s gothtronic title track dissecting infidelity, alcoholism and his wilderness years. Then there’s its doomy centrepiece, JM, and the ultimately hopeful denouement Wait For Love.

Mainlining Tango In The Night, The Rising and Heartbeat City down a dirty needle, it’s highway FM synth rock as psychotherapy, brutally honest and brittle with invention throughout.

Mark Beaumont

Mark Beaumont is a music journalist with almost three decades' experience writing for publications including Classic Rock, NME, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Times, Uncut and Melody Maker. He has written major biographies on Muse, Jay-Z, The Killers, Kanye West and Bon Iver and his debut novel [6666666666] is available on Kindle.