Levy and the Oaks | Sounds of The City EP

 
Levy and the Oaks

Family Average: 3/7

It is happening again! Asbury Park is sending us another tidal wave of sonic vibrations. This time in the form of a three piece pop rock band Levy and the Oaks. It has been said that they are known to mix witty lyrics, memorable hooks. We know the family has a pension for catchy tunes. How did they take this album?

Listen along on their Soundcloud and read on to find out:

 
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They seem to be talented musicians. Its like pop-punk with the vocals and lyrics, but the music accompanying it is not pop punk, it's absolutely beautiful.

His lyrics and voice are just so lame.

He’s not a bad singer, but it's so painfully pop-punk. It’s kinda soothing in some notes on the track “Obsessive Love” but it's also irritating.

Some of these lyrics are unbearable like, “Be my prescription, be my doctor and medicine…” come on…

“Ring” okay I actually like this one. Voice isn't whiny or annoying, it's just the pleasant aspect of it.

I’ve liked the music throughout, like the actual music, removed from the vocals/words. “Another Night Out in Asbury”-- wooo Asbury, but the criticism I have is that it was a bit sloppy. He forced a lot of the words to fit the rhythm instead of just picking different words. “she-e-e-ell,” just say another word.

His voice just kinda felt like he was scrambling, forcing it a bit. They are charming, I don't hate them at all, there's just a bit of tweaking that needs to be done. But they have talent and charm for sure.

4/7

 

Grab your suspenders and beard oils, Asbury Park is bringing back nu-folk realness. Remember all that? What happened to it? There were tons of weird folk inspired indie bands that just popped up out of nowhere. Band of Horses, The Lumineers, Minus The Bear. Ah I want to go back, and I can kinda. Just pop these guys into your phonograph, and tap your toes. They got some good ideas on this album, clever integration of modern electro kick drums, and hand claps into otherwise casual rock tunes. Gotta say I was not totally sold on the lyrics throughout the album. A lot of them were too predictable, and/or kind of blunt. I like a little mystery in my music, rather than having it beat over my head. That didn’t really hinder my listening, because I still liked the energy of the music. It did, however, make repeat listens a bit tedious. Yeh yo, any who a solid performance from a band that I really hope continues to make music.

4/7

 

Alright, so immediately I was getting flashbacks to the 2000s with this sound. Kinda like Cartel but warmer and looser. I can see the appeal, but it’s a genre that I don’t really revisit much anymore. But if this was on when I was in high school I’d def find myself tuning in. The subjects of a lot of the songs were things that would probably have resonated with the me of then.

The music had a full sound to it, like they utilized a lot of the space they had. It gave it a cluttered sound at times when it got too saturated, but when it did work it felt well-rounded. It’s alternative, but when guitar takes a backseat to the other instruments it takes on some pop elements. The lyrics in general felt cliche or like they were trying to be too quirky. Like, “If there’s beauty in suffering, then honey I’m Ryan Gosling.” Is Ryan Gosling okay?

I think “Rings” was my favorite. It had more energy behind it than the others and got my head nodding a bit. I really wanted to like “Another Night Out in Asbury” because, y’know Jersey, but it was just too corny. And while the last song did try to be more emotional, it ended up being corny too.

It’s a decent album, but nothing to write home about.

3/7

 

I’ve quickly learned that Asbury Park is a breeding ground for musical talent, and we’ve been lucky to feature a few of its denizens on this little old blog.  Levy and The Oaks is one of the many groups that have emerged from this shore scene, and are doing their part to uphold the high standards. Their newest album taps straight into the whole Americana Folk revival thing going on, but skews way more pop. Way, way more pop. It’s got some good dimension to it though -- some funk walked through with its boots on, the indie-alt bent runs deep, and they’ve got their harmonies down pat. Not to mention the catchy hooks guaranteed to be stuck in your head for the next couple of hours. It’s enjoyable, but slightly forgettable, in that I feel like they’ve somehow pigeon-holed themselves into the “popular” tropes for indie musicians at the moment. They’re a talented crew, and I’d love to see them flex beyond that which is going to be universally well-liked.

4/7

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The high school version of myself wants to like Levy and Oaks...and maybe if I had heard it back then this album would be a welcome nostalgia hit. But it’s not 2009 anymore. It's 2018 people, shit is going DOWN. I just don't have the appetite for the immature and underdeveloped lyrics littered throughout this. What's more, I never understood the random layering of additional instruments. "Mirror Mirror on the wall, this album is wack after all". Sorry!!

2/7

 

This album was easy to listen to and well put together. Songs made great use of pairing vocals and instruments to give you just enough of everything. "Obsessive Love" would probably have mass appeal. It contains all the elements of a Jersey Shore band in one song. Their sound is kind of early 2000's, maybe "Fountains of Wayne" or "All-American Rejects"?  I found them to be a well-polished group and yet maybe a little cookie cutter. I think they are good musicians that should perhaps step out of their comfort zone now and then and try something different. "Another Night Out in Asbury" was a nice song with very visual lyrics. You really get to experience the night in Asbury. That being said, maybe because we live so close, it just comes off rather corny. My least favorite track was "Sound of the City". This sounded like it was from a score to a Disney Musical. I think if they step out of their formula and take some chances with their music they could really make an impact. I give this a

4/7

 
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Ahhh. Boy am I having trouble finding the words. I think it's safe to say that I'm not really in the demographic that this band is appealing to. The songs on the EP just sounded like a bunch of people who are way too into themselves. The lyrics were taken from Dan Schneider's B-grade (but G-rated) joke book. Next time just use the same photo for each song on the “EP”, currently the multiple pictures further enhances the narcissism.

2/7






 
Sean Maldjian