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Strand of Oaks | Eraserland

The Philly roots-rocker cranks up and cuts loose on his biggest and boldest disc.

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“I gotta get my shit together before I’m 40,” Timothy Showalter sings partway through his latest Strand of Oaks album. He needn’t worry. Based on this monumental and magnificent achievement, the singer-songwriter has already met his goal — and with about four years to spare. Eraserland is the 36-year-old Philadelphian’s sixth full-length — and easily his biggest and boldest outing to date. Joined by members of My Morning Jacket, Showalter ditches the inward focus and self-containment of his previous discs in favour of cranking up the volume, bashing out crunchy canyon-sized riffs and ringing guitar chords, and giving everything room to ebb and flow and breathe and soar. The result: Spacious, spectacular and supercharged folk-rock epics, psychedelia jams, noisy ballads and envelope-pushing soundscapes that blur the lines between MMJ, Crazy Horse, Built to Spill and War on Drugs — when they aren’t paying tribute to late AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young. For those about to hear Showalter getting his shit together, we salute you.