Strand of Oaks, “Goshen ’97″

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 04.23.14 in Listen to This

In the interest of disclosure: my relationship with Strand of Oaks goes back quite a few years — his second record, the dark, enveloping Pope Killdragon was chosen for the eMusic Selects program, and I traveled to Philadelphia to hang out with him and interview him and got to know him fairly well. But nothing could have prepared me for the sound of “Goshen ’97.” The lead single from the forthcoming HEAL, the song is wild and rollicking, driven by a wooly guitar line courtesy of J Mascis and grounded in a bounding chord progression that resembles — of all things — Morrissey’s “We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful.” At the center is Showalter, talking about learning to write songs and falling in love with Smashing Pumpkins and stashing cigarettes under his band. It’s a gigantic song — a song of fight and triumph and hope and belief.