The Broken Oak Duet – Terrain (2016)

The Broken Oak Duet have been pummeling ear drums with their massively loud yet precise sound for quite a few years now, and the band is captured perfectly in their element on their debut full-length album Terrain. The band wastes no time in getting your attention and the opening track ‘Hello World’ sounds like something you’d hear coming out of a band like Lightning Bolt. The track leads perfectly into ‘Roger the Optometrist’ which is when the band really kicks things in high gear and set the tone for this album of two-piece instrumental math-rock. The Broken Oak Duet’s overall sound can best described of maybe what Shellac would sound like if it only consisted of the rhythm section of Todd Trainer and Bob Weston, but with more pedals and looping.

The track ‘March’ goes on a few twists and turns, at points sounding reminiscent of Battles or Gallops terrain, and then at about mid-way through the song switches riff on a dime and takes a direction more akin with mid-2000’s Don Caballero mixed with Hella. There are a lot of different 90’s and 2000’s math-rock influences that seem to percolate throughout the album and weave in and out of each song. Another thing that also is consistent throughout the album is the songs are short, direct, and driving. Terrain is 100% fat-free as Thomas Morgan and Howard Kenny cut the fat in their song-writing and don’t bother writing songs that have any meandering dynamic build-ups that are dime a dozen for post-rock bands the world over, instead each song is riff after riff after riff like the waves of an angry sea continually beating down the sea shore. The onslaught of angular riffs and driving drums works on so many levels and Morgan and Kenny keep it fresh and even with having a formula their approach to song-crafting keeps Terrain interesting from beginning to end. This is an album worth taking the time to listen to in a single sitting.

Terrain was well worth the wait, and The Broken Oak Duet show they are one of the better instrumental duos playing contemporary math-rock.

File Under

Two-piece, noise rock, experimental, math rock, instrumental

Sounds A Tad Like

Don Caballero, Shellac, You Slut!, Lightning Bolt

Standout Tracks

Roger The Optometrist, March


$7USD (Bandcamp)


Worcestershire sauce, United Kingdom