EP Review: Oakland – Into The Sea

Into The Sea

oaklandReleased July 17th

Words: Gary Feeney
One of the great things about record shops is the occasional urge to buy something you’ve never heard of on impulse: whether you like the artwork or whether the name merely reminds you of something else, it’s essentially a random selection. Such purchases inevitably have mixed results, but when you stumble across a gem you’d otherwise have missed, it’s a little bit like Christmas has come early.
If you’re like me, then that kind of random pull is a lot rarer on the internet, but when I saw Oakland’s debut E.P Into the Sea, I felt the same sense of curiosity that sometimes strikes you in a shop. The reason for this intrigue? The title reminded me of the excellent Liverpudlian band “By the Sea” who released one of my favourite albums of last year. It’s a fairly tenuous reason for being drawn to listening to something, but it didn’t take long for me to discover that the E.P. has a lot in common with the Scousers’ sound and I was hooked from the off, filled with the same thrill that usually comes with striking lucky after an hour or so in a dimly lit shop.

Opening track Into The Sea is an instantly charming number which drifts from soaring, dreamy reverb-laden guitar lines to wistful lyrics in the choruses, punctuated by atmospheric harmonies, a sound which defines the release and is a fine choice as the lead single.
One of the main features of Oakland’s sound is the vocals of Alex Cooke and this is best highlighted on Tired Eyes when his unusual enunciations see “darling” became “doorling”; it’s an engaging little quirk that becomes more noticeable across the entire release upon repeat listens, adding to the appeal of the overall sound and makes Tired Eyes one of the strongest tracks on the record.

Although the general Into The Sea is similar throughout, it never becomes boring or repetitive as it progresses due to the warmth and charm of the songs and on the closing doublet Slipping With You and Easy, there’s still plenty of clever little twists and turns that keep your attention right to the dying chords; like all good music, there’s more to discover with each listen and as the band’s sound grows on you, so does the realisation that this is a collection of extremely well-crafted, intelligent songs for a band to turn out on their debut release.

Oakland have a reputation for relentless gigging in their hometown of Perth, Australia and whilst they’re likely to focus their efforts on making a breakthrough in Australia in the short-term, you can easily imagine their sound proving a hit on the (considerably more compact) British live scene. With a debut offering of this quality, it’d be no more than the band deserves.

Listen to Into The Sea (single) here:
One Response to “EP Review: Oakland – Into The Sea”
  1. garyfeeney says:

    Reblogged this on General Smuts.


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