The Poison Oaks | Pine

Self-released (2011)
By NINA MASHUROVA  |  November 29, 2011
2.5 2.5 Stars


It feels unfair for the Poison Oaks to release Pine, their debut 7-inch, on the cusp of another New England winter. Morning frosts encroach, but the sprightly banjo bounce and carefree handclaps on the title track and the heat-bug buzz on "Ninety" tempt you with the glimmer of brighter days. Such is the power of pop. In this case, this power is wielded by a five-to-15-person "folkestra" led by fiddler whirlwind Laura Cortese. Pine combines folky banjos and lyrical nods to nature with intricate instrumentation, jazz and swing elements, and choral vocals. In her best moments, such as on the standout "London Devil," Cortese's dark voice approximates Neko Case. During more passively pretty songs, Pine is a slick showcase for seasoned musicians. Cortese studied at Berklee, which can raise red flags among purists who insist that "real" art comes raw from the muse rather than from training and studio time. Pine does lack the immediacy that made the Poison Oaks so mesmerizing during their November residency at the Aviary in Jamaica Plain, but it's an album with promise. It remains to be seen whether that promise is of a deeper follow-up or just pleasant company for warmer days, before we retreat to our caves, noise bands, and frozen burritos.
Related: Guillermo Sexo | Secret Wild, Mutual Benefit | The Cowboy's Prayer, Ridgemont | Colder Days, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Jamaica Plain, Boston, Music,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   THE BABIES | OUR HOUSE ON THE HILL  |  November 12, 2012
    This fall, Freaks and Geeks started streaming on Netflix, and, coincidentally, the Babies released their sophomore album.
  •   BORN GOLD | LITTLE SLEEPWALKER  |  November 07, 2012
    Little Sleepwalker , written alone in the Arizona desert, is Born Gold's step back.
  •   TO THE BATHAUS  |  October 25, 2012
    Say what you will about witch house.
  •   WHAT'S F'N NEXT? POLIÇA  |  October 02, 2012
    Poliça have come a long way in the past year. When they played the Paradise last September, the Minnesota act opened for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah — and it was one of their first shows ever.
  •   DIGITS | WHERE DO YOU BELONG?  |  July 10, 2012
    Sad people dance, too.

 See all articles by: NINA MASHUROVA