It seems that The Oak’s sophomore release, Songs for Waiting¸ can only be expected when considering what it came from – Oaks’ band mate Ryan Costello’s years spent in the Central Afghan Mountains working with returned refugees and his devotion to social work. The album draws from his experiences in those passing years and from that, something tribal, something feminine is drawn from it. Just listen to tracks like “Pike Country,” “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” and “Here I am Again.” They’re a hodgepodge of chiming bells, soft synths, longing trombones, jangling guitars, trippy drums, kept organs and muffled vocals that embody a neat sensuality. Unfortunately, while these nostalgic sounds can be hypnotizing, they tend to err on the side of agonizingly long (“Song for Waiting,” “Masood.”) Overall, Songs for Waiting is an instrumental-heavy, touching, jazz-folk effort that can be the equivalent to a mildly impressive soundtrack for spiritual enlightenment.
–Annamarya Scaccia [March 26, 2008]