By Maria Coraza
Artist: Strand of Oaks
Release Date: March 22, 2019
Strand of Oaks is an indie/rock/alternative musical project formed by Indiana-born singer/songwriter Timothy Showalter. Earlier works from Strand of Oaks include Leave Ruin (2009), Pope Killdragon (2010), Dark Shores (2012), HEAL (2014) and Hard Love (2017). Strand of Oaks’ latest release, Eraserland, is a studio project that almost did not see to fruition due to Showalter’s low mental state and energy at the time. After 2017’s Hard Love tour, Showalter was about to give up on his music until he received a serendipitous call from Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket that sparked his motivation to continue, leading to the creation of Eraserland.
Eraserland is introduced with the opening track “Weird Ways.” The track starts off with Showalter singing solo with a raw acoustic guitar, then slowly develops with soft orchestral synths, eventually leading to the rest of the band joining with electric guitars and drums. This song was originally supposed to close out the album, but ironically wound up in the beginning. Encapsulating the whole album’s theme, “Weird Ways” is a poetic reminder of why an individual began their journey in the first place.
The track “Hyperspace Blues” features a carefree, buzzing energy that sets you in action. This song reflects Showalter’s songwriting retreat in Jersey Shore, where he would ride his bike out near the shore in the darkness. Effectively using synths, distorted guitar and vocal effects, Showalter replicates the adrenaline of not fearing any consequences. The soft jangle-pop love song “Keys” is a sweet song about Showalter’s wife, Sue. The track “Visions” conveys self-doubt and the darkness that comes along with it. With a slow-striding beat and a compelling and hitting chorus, Showalter paints a picture of despair at a low part of his life.
Eraserland is a collection of ten songs that reflect on themes of self-acceptance, forgiveness, and revival. With anthem-like indie bangers and personal songs that closely reflect on Showalter’s experiences, Eraserland is an album that shares insight on a soul that chose to persevere.