Creatively beautiful couple unveil another gorgeous offering
There is something immediately timeless about the new Oakes and Smith EP, ‘Between the Earth and the Sky‘. In an age where music seems to be moving faster, pushed harder, and meant to assault the senses in such a way that it might reach the top of the charts by sheer force alone, Oakes And Smith take a mature step back from the loud mess, and we should all be thankful for it. There is a spiritual and passionate thread that runs through the Joni Mitchell and Peter Gabriel-inspired music that they play. Of course, those are only two of the influences that we care to point out, but it should be noted that Oakes And Smith deserve credit for preserving the type of music that has some serious emotional depth.
Tender balladry that you can get lost in
Opening with the ethereal ‘So Beautiful‘, it only takes a couple of seconds before you can hear the levels of power and control in Katherine Smith’s angelic voice. This is what she was obviously meant to be doing, and the accompanying vocals of Robert Oakes are the perfect accompaniment; together they’re graceful and pitch-perfect, and they’re a treat to listen to. The song itself is a soft ballad that never steps over the boundaries and never breaks the magical spell the music casts. As far as openers go, this one was the right choice.
The other tracks on the EP don’t miss a beat: they all stay true to the folky, story-driven and emotional roots that make up Oakes And Smith’s music, and they’re all really, really good. The final track, ‘Closer To Home‘ (featuring Jon Anderson), is the soft icing on the cake of an EP that knows exactly what it wants to be.
It’s great, but it could be better
If we’re looking to make a constructive criticism, then we would have liked to have heard Oakes and Smith try something a little different. Yes, there is room for high points throughout the music, moments where Katherine can unleash her voice much in the way of, perhaps, Lisa Gerrard from Dead Can Dance, but these moments are few and far between. The music did a great job of keeping the tone of the EP, but at times that tone was a bit too subdued to consistently absorb. All in all, though, this is a great EP, and if you enjoy beautiful music with some old-school flavor then this is one you will want to get your hands on as soon as you can.