Oaks are a five piece pop punk band based in Sydney Australia, and are about to release their second EP. Close the Distance symbolizes the different aspects of emotional distance and the effects and reactions it has to individuals. They have put forward a stellar (while short) EP, which manages to take the generic pop punk sound and adjust it into their own sound. They have a slight rockier edge to their songs, and the vocals demonstrate a healthy breadth of emotion, which really grabs your attention when you’re listening. Oaks is made up of James Graham on vocals, Josh Tchatchanidze on bass, Lucas Flood on drums, and Zac Wallace and Christopher Concepcion on guitar.
“Never Care Never Try,” is the first track off the EP, and starts by showcasing the vocals of James Graham. Catchy guitar riffs lead you into the verses, inviting you to have a dance and get moving. As if your eyes are closed spinning around the room, the guitars keep it moving in a groovy way, before launching into the fast and hard verses. The song speaks of tearing yourself apart, inwardly trying to figure out what is wrong. It feels like you aren’t good enough for someone, and forced to question everything. “Never Care Never Try” takes all the insecurities of a relationship and brings them to the surface. The inconsistent timing of the drums, the constant fills, the changing of tone; it all represents this sense of uncertainty or insecurity.
“Did you accept my flaws, or just give up?”
As “Never Care Never Try” goes on, the sleepless nights stack up, and the anxiety is taking over. Sick to the stomach and constantly in a state of panic, an answer doesn’t seem to be coming anytime soon. The false reassurances have no affect, and the mind is constantly racing. “Never Care Never Try” captures the mental and emotional processes of someone suffering through the anxiety and uncertainty of a damaged relationship.
“Who are you? What do you want from me?”
“Losing Breath” gets your head moving as soon as it kicks in, with the uplifting sounding guitar and fast drums carrying some fantastic instrumentals. Visually inspired by the instrumentals and vocals of the track, I’m seeing a guy sitting in a car, staring out the window and thinking of his significant other. The trees, paddocks, bushes, grass, and greens, all continue to flow by. Constant possible distractions present themselves but he still can’t help but to think of her, wanting nothing more than to be able to share this view with her. I see the girl, sitting at home watching TV with a blanket. She looks out the window, hoping for any chance that he’ll be walking up the driveway, even though she knows its still a while until he is home.
“I’ll trace your footprints on the sand. Swim the oceans to close the distance.”
The distance is becoming difficult but they are both trying to get past it and want to make it work. They both close their eyes and pretend they are holding the other; smiling, and promising themselves that they are going to get through this. It’s a pleasure to immerse in this story as inspired by the track.
“I see your shadow and I follow, theres nowhere else I’d rather be.”
“Hiraeth” is a clear break up song. It focuses specifically on how you can feel like you’re in a certain routine in a relationship, and how it ending suddenly can have you feel lost. The difficulties of moving on are increased tenfold as old habits are put to an end. The vocals are especially good in this track, and the high quality of the instrumentals continue. The swaying riffs and very active drums keep the pace moving, while the bass provides that deep undertone that we all love. The song title is a Welsh word that fittingly translates to “a deep longing for home.”
“I won’t break down, and I’ll be just fine.”
There is a sense of uncertainty to “Hiraeth”. Going out into the world on his own for the first time in a while, the speaker of the lyrics is in a brand new situation for him. Moving his stuff out and starting to live his life in a completely different way, he feels overwhelmed. Life is throwing big decisions at him everyday, and he doesn’t know which ones to make. He sits in his car, surrounded by boxes and suitcases, and yearns for that previous sense of security he had. Moving on isn’t easy he finds out, but it needs to happen. He had found a home in that person, but now he was homeless, and needs to find some refuge for himself.
“Take my home as your own, I’ll pack my things and go, and let all the worries go.”
Oaks have put their own spin on the pop punk genre, and with “Close the Distance” they have created some emotive and enjoyable music. The EP tells a story, as if it shows the highs and lows of a relationship. It goes through the troubles, and the pressures, as well as the good times, and really expresses the emotions that come with this well.
Fresh look at pop punk. Strong lyrics. Strong instrumentals.