Local Album Review // One If By Land // American Crows
The album opens with a radio crackle. Snippets of "Goocher" by the Twirpentines and "A Fragile Constitutional" by Signal Home cut in and out before the opening track "We're Still Making Noise" cuts in beautifully. It's a clear treatise from frontman Fred Oakman, giving a nod to his previous two bands. Oakman is able to use sentimentality like a weapon, wielding it deftly with the expertise that has come from decades of progressive punk rock songwriting. Weaving the sounds of bands like Hot Water Music, Dillinger Four, and fellow 2010s compatriots, Oakman is writing in a language that he is utterly fluent in. Touches of his more rootsy side with Fred Oakman & The Flood are seeping through gracefully, as the quartet (The Flood's Troy Messerall, joined by Signal Home alum Paul Dean, and drummer Jim Stone) grooves to tracks like "Walls" and "Fired and Blue." The follow-up to the band's 2016 album Nobody Wants To Leave, One If By Land's third full-length sees the Meadville band still at the top of their game. These are songs meant to be sung along to, lyrics that could be scrawled in a high school notebook and shouted in car rides with friends. If you don't know One If By Land by now, don't wait a second longer.