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The Brooklyn based sextet (scaled down from a ten-piece) Oakley Hall certainly wheel out their penchant for the psychedelic on GYPSUM STRINGS, tackling jam band noodling and trippy musical left turns inside of its folk and bluegrass backdrop. This nine-track release takes you to the back porches and corn fields without getting mud on your shoes, as the dreamy female vocal on “Bury Your Burden”, sweeping banjos on “Having Fun Again” and the soothing picking and grinning of “Spanish Fandango” all secure this multi-talented ensemble’s alt-country banner, while the band’s electronically manipulated blues rock shines through a la My Morning Jacket on “Lazy Susan”. Rocking almost way too hard for a countrified outfit, songs like “Confidence Man” sound like Creedence at its most brooding while “Nite Lites, Dark Days” busts out the moonshine for a down home low lit hootenanny around the fireplace. Oakley Hall’s bittersweet jamboree influenced by Jayhawks, Son Volt, Fleetwood Mac, and Wilco has the perfect balance of Midwestern charm and hipster chutzpah, making this disc a refreshingly exhilarating listen.
- Mike SOS