Written by Lauren Rosier
The DIY musician and producer, Zack Oakley, debuts his first record, Badlands, out now via Kommune Records. Badlands is a complete heavy psychedelic, progressive rock experience transporting the listener back to the 1960s.
Oakley writes and releases his own unique, signature blend of psychedelic, progressive rock, blues, and folk music all melded together with his own spin.
Over the last ten years or so, Oakley has played in bands, most notably a band named JOY (who toured in the U.S. and was signed to Tee Pee Records). He was also in another Tee Pee Records band, Pharlee, who released their debut in 2019.
On Oakley’s debut, the opening track, “Freedom Rock,” is a complete all-out rocker. It definitely melds elements of progressive rock, psychedelic rock, blues, and folk, to create a killer track that makes for a terrific opening song. He also sounds like he is a talented guitarist.
The beginning of the song, “I’m The One,” has an opening that truly reminded me that I was listening to something that Led Zeppelin wrote. If you enjoy progressive rock and psychedelic rock, you’re already going to enjoy this record. The electric guitar on this album is outrageous and I truly feel like I’m being transported to another era. It’s a win in my book for an artist if you’re creating a certain genre of music, original nonetheless, and the listener feels like they’re being transported to another time and place.
“Desert Shack” is a great, chill song that’s perfect for a smoke sesh playlist or just for chilling with friends; while, “Fever” has excellent guitar instrumentation.
On “Looking High Searching Low,” Oakley taps his folk roots for a great rootsy-folk tune. The last track is the album’s title track, which brings together a blend of psychedelic rock, blues, and rock. It starts out slow, but then gradually ramps up into really excellent track with a great blend of different genres.
Overall, I think this album is superb. The songs are unique, the lyrics are introspective and storytelling, and the musicianship is fantastic. Great record.
Connect with Zack Oakley