Strand of Oaks - Heal
Critic Score
Based on 14 reviews
2014 Ratings: #168 / 841
User Score
Based on 86 ratings
2014 Ratings: #60
Your Review


A.V. Club

Previous Strand Of Oaks albums had settled into a folk niche that is all but abandoned on Heal, with big rock moments basked in without any irony, as if Showalter was the only inhabitant in an alternate dimension where Coldplay was cool. 

Consequence of Sound

HEAL is a rock record, unabashed in its influences and unbridled in its execution.

The 405

The title couldn't be more appropriate - it's an album about the healing power of music, a testament from someone who made it through, a shout to keep going.

American Songwriter

Showalter has jacked up the musical intensity to match his fearless, often harrowing lyrics, and the results are stellar.


On HEAL, it’s not just the lyrics that are memoiristic, but the music as well. These songs draw on the pop songs of Showalter’s youth—not just Molina’s epic Americana, but also postpunk synth pop and heavy metal.


Musically, Showalter draws from the same pool of familiar sounds as fellow neo-classic rock/overshare pop artists like The War on Drugs, Phosphorescent, The Low Anthem, and My Morning Jacket ... but he's got a flair for electro-pop as well


HEAL is the kind of heartbreaking album that never feels heartbreaking, that has a resiliency that keeps it from brooding.

The Line of Best Fit

Strand of Oaks’ particular synthesis of modern sounds with retro feels is as entertaining as it is uplifting.

Dec 18, 2017
Jun 6, 2018
Judging by the looks and the name I was expecting another sad, bearded folk singer. Couldn't be more wrong - I've got an anthemic indie rock, evoking bands like My Morning Jacket at times.
It's got killer opener 'Goshen 97' with J. Mascis on guitar.
Jan 10, 2016
Showalter is a sensitive and lonesome artist, as seen on the cover for Heal, his third full lenght LP as Strand of Oaks. As with The War on Drugs, his music is based on rock standards with heavy folk influences and a slight touch of synth-music, proving Strand of Oaks to be an intimate and confessional project that involves the singer/songwriter tag as much as any indie/alternative-rock stance. As with Granduciel, though, there are two ways of approaching Showalter's music, although it would be ... read more
Mar 5, 2015
Just curious about this site's math. The critic score is 81, based on 13 critic reviews.

Mean = 78.46
Median = 79
Mode = 70

It's a good album and all, I just don't understand how they came to a score of 81 "based on the 13 critic reviews".
Feb 21, 2015
Loved this album and what it brought to the table in terms of bringing Alt rock back as a true player along with War on Drugs. They were a real welcomed surprise to my 2014 new artist list and hope they hit up Lolla this year as I missed them locally and am still kicking myself in the arse for it!! And all of these BS music sites/publications need to stop using the same fcuking lame excuses for any great band these days by blaming their sound on sounding like other great bands!! OBVIOUSLY a ... read more
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Added on: June 6, 2014