- Hard Love

Strand of Oaks - Hard Love
CRITIC SCORE
69
Based on 10 reviews
2017 Rank: #270 / 351
USER SCORE
70
Based on
26 ratings

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CRITIC REVIEWS

90
The Line of Best Fit

On Hard Love, Showalter brazenly leaves his folkier, electro-tinged past behind him in favor of a more visceral, potent sound. The raw emotions coursing through these songs remain fragile, but are far less fractured than they were on his 2014 breakthrough album, HEAL.

80
Under The Radar

With Hard Love, the churning, confessional beauty of Strand of Oaks' last album, 2014's HEAL, is present, but there is an added ruthlessness.

70
Exclaim!

Written by a person whose conscience seems to keep him from having too much fun, Hard Love is a conflicted yet summarily good record that breathes new life into good ol' rock'n'roll.

70
PopMatters

Hard Love is overstuffed and perhaps a bit overambitious, but repeated listening will reap ample rewards.

70
AllMusic

Hard Love is an aptly named salute to the myriad complexities of intimacy, the nature of comeuppance, and the difficulties of navigating forward in the cruel wake of youth.

70
Uncut

Most crucial of Showalter’s checks here, perhaps, are his beloved stadium reach that stops just short of bombast, and his emotional directness that avoids explicit outpouring. It’s a neat trick to pull off.

67
Consequence of Sound

At some points, Showalter’s songwriting is so harrowing that you can literally feel his pain. And that makes sense because Showalter only writes what he knows. With the help of producer Nicolas Vernhes, Showalter makes sure that you feel everything he experiences.

65
Pitchfork

Hard Love never really adds up to a particularly clear or bold statement; there are some strong songs and big moments, but very little that moves the story forward or develops that rich character.

60
The Independent

It’s a solipsistic affair: and while his good intentions to smarten up his drug-sozzled, road-weary life may be commendable, they don’t necessarily make “Quit It” any more agreeable.

50
Loud and Quiet

For all of the influences (and solid tracks) heard here, the lack of coherence only creates confusion.

Mar 19, 2017
Fallendomino
67
As an album, "Hard Love" isn't all that special. It lacks focus, and the pacing starts and stops more than rush hour traffic. However, as an artist, Strand of Oaks showcases structural and tempo diversity with an edge not seen in "HEAL"; it's clearly a step forward for the artist, but one that does not make a splash.

Notable Songs: "Hard Love"; "Radio Kids"; "Rest of it"
Mar 6, 2017
49
Deeply uninteresting.
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Added on: December 1, 2016