The title of the new Oakhands EP ‘A Circle with Many Centres’ is a reference to a short story by Haruki Murakami. It is also the realization by Oakhands that life and feelings cannot be so logically differentiated and dissected as was assumed and practised on the previous album ‘The Shadow Of Your Guard Receding’ but that feelings simply have to be experienced, and that all the personal conflicts are more strongly and universally connected than one would like.
At the root of all interrelated life issues lies depression, which permeates and suffocates all emotions. A socially as well as individually unavoidable theme, with a firm grip on the zeitgeist.
Depression, emotional life’s great opponent, or even the great absence of all emotions, cannot simply be analytically differentiated, but is “simply there”. Oakhands upcoming EP opposes the kaleidoscope of feelings on the debut album and all the analytical attempts at explanation.
‘A Circle with Many Centres’ can thus be though of as the continuation, answer or refutation of the debut album. The latter dealt with one’s own feelings analytically and lyrically with almost manic precision and was artistically (not scientifically) inspired by Plutchick’s Wheel of Emotions. ‘A Circle with Many Centres’ can also be read as a late coming-of-age record. A post-adolescent record about the “true” coming of age around 30, late individual Sturm & Drang phases. About the realisation of where the root of all personal conflicts lies: depression.
Contemporary themes, almost fashionable in the western cultural world, which Oakhands, in contrast to many of their guitar-playing (also whitemiddleclasscisheteromale) colleagues,are dealt with here in a differentiated and in-depth way, addressed with an unusual directness
within the framework of their previous standards. Consistently following their ‘Sturm & Drang’ dictum, the lyrics are more direct and without argumentative-philosophical detours, more straight, yet not a bit less lyrical than on the last release.
Musically and as accustomed, Oakhands express themselves in a multi- faceted manner, but above all close to their lyrical and conceptual ideas. Their trademark ‘Sturm & Drang’ sound, a striking as well as glowing amalgam of post-hardcore, indie and (Scr)E(a)mo, is explored in more contrasting and distinct ways.
With differentiated math-pop and the stylistically as well as emotionally more brute, nihilistic traits of post-punk (s/o to The Cure and Gilla Band) and doom. The impetuous blast beats in bright major chords and dreamy power ballads soundtrack the album’s continuities and contrasts in a multi-faceted way.
Those who delve deeper into the themes discover not only the multifaceted effects of depression, expressed in the universally omnipresent theme of love (relationships) with their respective endings, but also their questioned ideas and the ever more contemporary, never- ending search for the new beginning of love’s feelings. The bipolar opposites of depression & mania, hedonism & nihilism, thus affirm that depression also plays out its cycles and the search for the roots of the illness which lies early in childhood.
Connected, however, are not only their feelings, but also the band’s increasingly diverse social and cultural entanglements: be it in the band’s now diverse live line-ups with (collective?) members such as Munich leftfield electronica artist Giovanni Raabe, Berlin aerospace and twinkle-professional Philipp Breese, or with Jany Irro of the close-knit Corechaos collective, in whose framework Oakhands also champion the subcultural infrastructure and related sounds in their city. All the relationships of (post-)hardcore and hypergentrified Munich with its urban society cry out for clarifying conversations and Oakhands also face these questions, next to, in front of and behind the stage. Because even depression and capitalism, in an almost dead-gentrified living space, are always connected in the end.
SOURCE: Official Bio
Featured image by Dennis Clausma.