Oakes & Smith is a captivating folk band. Formed by Robert Oakes & Katherine Smith, there are visual details to their music offered up on their project, First Flight. Each song illustrates images in the listener's mind making the musical adventure even more conceptual and passionate. The album, which features 12 songs, while could be compared to other folk and singer-songwriter duos actually presents something different, unseen, warm and inviting.
"Once" begins the album and is one of those songs that has many layers leaving the listener enveloped in several sounds. It is one of those types of songs that you do not want to end. "You Beside Me" is slower. A romantic introspection, Smith's vocals are perfect for the guitar that echoes behind her. "Hold On To Your Dream," is a perfect anthem for the rejected, dejected, upset and those who feel that every time they take two steps forward, they take three steps backward. Both Oakes and Smith sing their hearts out on this song. It is another one of the songs exhibited on First Flight that you won't want to end.
"By the Ocean" begins with a bamboo flute and tells the story of the healing dynamics of the ocean, while "Poore Wayfaring Stranger," offers a loungey feel with its mix of Smith's tone and instrumentation. The title track, which shows up towards the end of the project, is a melancholic and memorable piece. It is difficult not to feel the piercing elements that Oakes voice provides to the song. The finale, "When I Woke" is a perfectly woven story that ends an album that exceptional.
While there are countless folk duos, Oakes & Smith seem to be bent on ensuring harmonies are sprinkled all over their music. Their affinity for music is front and center on First Flight. It is unmistakable and leaves a lasting impression on the listener.
Final Grade: A
For more on Oakes & Smith, check out these pages: