Family is more than genetics for Oakalla. Two brothers and a first cousin are at the band’s core. A pair of good friends make up the numbers in a democratic five-piece. Like all such nuclear units, they’re equally adept at kicking each other’s asses and watching each other’s backs. In private, they laugh and clown, battle and reconcile. Come showtime, they’re a united front. Unpretentious. Take-it-or-leave-it real. A rock band: Nothing more or less.
Oakalla is Josh Hlookoff (guitar), Matt Lebedoff (vocals), Jason Milne (guitar), Jonas Hlookoff (drums) and Jed Scharf (bass). Pigeonholing them is neither easy nor necessary. Their constantly evolving sound is rooted but not rootsy contemporary rock’n’roll that shifts from high-tempo drive to west-coast laidback, often within the same track. Their songs blend humour and plainspoken passion, gritty realism and spirited edge. Don’t ask them to describe their music or namecheck their myriad influences because they honestly haven’t given it a lot of thought. Listen to their music. Watch the live show. Decide for yourself.