Ferocious Oaks = Rural Alberta Advantage + Grand Hallway + Shugo Tokumaru
Things have never quite been the same after Arcade Fire’s Funeral. The Montreal collective’s quiet-and-restrained-to-ramshackle-and-blisteringly-loud dynamic has imprinted itself all over this ambitious yet frustrating EP by Orem’s Ferocious Oaks. While clearly possessing the passion and romance of trickle down, post-Funeral chamber-folk, the stylistic confusion from song to song and production quality belabor this promising debut. The vocals are too loud to capture the gorgeous multi-instrumental folk being played. Sung, at times, with a forced Dylan-esque slur, the vocals highlight the group’s insecurity of when to let the singer be a driver (“Polyamory”) and when to let him take the back seat to the excellent instrumentation (“My Favorite”). If these critiques sound nit-picky and you are a fan of any of the bands listed in the equation, or of flannel shirts and neck beards (as is this writer), then by all means, go see the Ferocious Oaks.