Based out of Minneapolis, MN Creaking Oak is a folk/americana-duo made up of Alec Seeley and Thomas Ebert. They were friends before band mates in college and as one thing lead to another they started creating music together. As the songs started to amass they wanted to release them in a proper album.
Their self-titled debut Creaking Oak was self-produced and recorded in their basement. With little more than a microphone and an audio interface they recorded their songs and the quality is about what you would expect from the gear they had at their disposal. The strings and vocals often sound thin but the mixing isn't too shabby.
The music is hit-and-miss throughout and they have their best moments when they veer more towards bluegrass and less towards melancholy indie rock. One of the highlights on the album is “In My Dreams (I Can Dance the Waltz),” which contains a bass, a banjo and lead vocals for most of the song. In about the last minute or so the song really opens up and proves to be one of their best moments of the album. The vocal harmonies, guitar and additional string work come together to create a joyous, triumphant sound. “Filth” doesn't work as well. The song never seems to get off the ground and it drags. Another highlight is the first song “Hands in a Jar” as it contains a great acoustic guitar progression and has an upward momentum. “Bend, Or” is a good song but it is plagued with production issues that hold back the kick from having much of an impact and make the bass sound very thin and frail.
Creaking Oak have made an impressive debut with some exceptional moments but still have room for improvement. They have a knack for writing folk/bluegrass type tunes and hope they lean towards that direction in the their future endeavors.
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