If These Trees Could Talk
Above the Earth, Below the Sky


3.5
great

Review

by NovaSilver USER (12 Reviews)
April 10th, 2009 | 42 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Heavy post-rock stripped down to the bare essentials.

If These Trees Could Talk have flown under the radar for quite a while now, having quietly self-releasing their self titled EP in 2006 and now doing the same with their first full length release. Listening to the album this seems a little strange as the band clearly take their cues from the genre's leading stars in sound terms and would quite happily slot in alongside Explosions in the Sky in any post rock fan's collection. The album achieves a kind of distillation of many of the best facets of post rock, managing to deliver a compact but tasty selection of instrumental soundscapes, switching between thunderous noise and equally weighty silences punctured with some delicate harmonies.

If that sounds a bit familiar it's because it's a tried and tested formula. When there's no vocals bands feel compelled to turn up the volume and go for an epic sound. If These Trees Could Talk succeed by keeping to the formula but simplifying it by kicking much of the unnecessarily repetitive and dare I say it, boring, sections of post rock out. Only one of these songs stretches past the 7 minute mark and the listener is never kept waiting too long time for a moment of aural gratification while the band repeats themselves interminably. That's not to say there's no repetition but it's kept to a sensible length to create the desired atmosphere without causing irritation. This technique is exemplified by opener 'From Roots To Needles'. The soft beginning atmosphere lulls you in but just 1 and a half minutes in it reaches a thunderous noise that subsides and rears it's head again at short intervals, each lull more layered and each crescendo more explosive than the last. The song could easily have simply been one long lull followed by an equally long crescendo but the careful pattern makes it much more interesting for the listener.

The thunderous explosions and gradual build ups are built in fairly typical post rock manner. The triple guitar attack of the band generally features rhythmic harmonies overlaid with reverberating soft noise that gradually collapses into a crushing wall of needling but heavy guitar noise. Between this rise and fall are various echoing single note riffs that give the album a satisfyingly natural and empty sound in keeping with the title and band name. There's very little distortion and the songs all feel very layered, each instrument working on top of one another in a distinct way. This does not get in the way of the heaviness of the material though. The most memorable moments of the album and the ones that make it worth buying are the climaxes of the songs which frequently cross over into almost post-metal territory by virtue of their sheer heaviness. The best example (and the best track) is 'What's in the Ground Belongs to You' where the metallic pounding riff is joined by the high reverberating guitar to form a brilliantly bombastic climax.

However these elements are not just the signature sound of the band, they are really the only sound present. As the album reaches the mid way mark it starts to become uncomfortably clear that when you strip post-rock to it's essentials you're perhaps not left with too much. Too many of these songs use the same techniques and similar structures to form a sound not quite as emotional and vital as the one before and while it would be a little harsh to say that having heard one track means you've heard them all (the tracks are too technically accomplished and carefully constructed to dismiss so quickly) certainly you might have trouble distinguishing which one is which without the help of a track list. The band resolutely sticks to the guitars + bass + drums equation but other post rock bands have successfully included pianos or even entire orchestras to add variety to their songs and I'd have been very interested to see what If These Trees Could Talk could do with that at their disposal in addition to their instinct for what length a song should be. Even within that formula it would have been nice if the drums or bass had been given a moment in the spotlight to mix it up a little. Instead, even with the cut down lengths of each track, the album falters towards the end. This shouldn't put off any post-rock fan from checking out this album but it might be enough to keep them from joining the leading stars of the genre.



Recent reviews by this author
Crime In Stereo The Troubled StatesideEisley Combinations
Hell Is For Heroes Hell is for HeroesAnd So I Watch You From Afar And So I Watch You From Afar
Colour of Fire Pearl NecklaceA Verse Unsung Sleeping Tigers
user ratings (204)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
April 10th 2009


7026 Comments


I'll probably check this out since I need more post-rock from 2009. Good review.

Digging: Perfume Genius - Too Bright

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
April 10th 2009


15737 Comments


this sounds like zzzz

Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
April 10th 2009


862 Comments


I listened to this a couple of times cos I liked their debut. Only when I see it mentioned on the internet, like now, do I remember it exists. It's OK, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who wants good post rock. Very forgettable.

elephantREVOLUTION
April 10th 2009


2744 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i am really glad you reviewed this. i live in akron so i have seen them live a few times. i like this album but they sound a little bit too much like Irepess, and i like Irepess way more

Captain North
April 11th 2009


6787 Comments


I hate how these boring post-rock bands have awesome names and album titles.

YouAreMySilence
April 11th 2009


3727 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm listening to them right now, not bad but still about your average post rock. And as for post rock album of the year, it doesn't even come close to touching Mono.

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
April 11th 2009


7026 Comments


I used to think that post-rock albums couldn't get any worse than "average", but recently I have abandoned this idea (mostly because I'm sick of average post-rock). This album was so generic that they could have repeated one of the songs twice and I wouldn't have noticed at all.

NovaSilver
April 11th 2009


130 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Interested to see these negative comments about the album. I did waver between 3 and 3.5 for a while but I felt the directness of the music and lack of overly long songs lifted it above average. Perhaps I haven't listened to enough post-rock to be as burned out on it as some of you guys are. This Message Edited On 04.11.09

BallsToTheWall
April 17th 2009


44363 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ok, this is really good so far. This si what I was looking for.

Digging: Pharmakon - Abandon

kingsoby1
Emeritus
April 17th 2009


4950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i heard this for the first time after a lotus show/ rave. it was perfect, i fell asleep fine afterward. it's solid.

This Message Edited On 04.24.09

PartinsShot
April 24th 2009


138 Comments


Currently going through this album, must say i'm pretty surprised of how much i'm enjoying it. But we'll see what happens. Solid review

Abdar112
April 29th 2009


392 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Someone should review their self titled EP, I thought it was better, catchier and less "zzzzzz"

mothergoose
July 27th 2009


308 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I quite like this album.

lobby
September 7th 2009


1251 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this album is brilliant

EverythingEvil2113
September 15th 2009


1279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i hadnt listened to this album in months and i guess it grew on me because it's pretty amazing. I like how the songs seem to cut the bull shit that a lot of post rock has and just get to the point.

lobby
September 15th 2009


1251 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah, i agree, some say this is too generic, well so be it, because right now, i am really fucking enjoying this and have so for months now

EverythingEvil2113
November 8th 2009


1279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i keep forgetting how much i love this.

maqwep
November 8th 2009


1046 Comments


if you want decent easy to digest post rock then hey this is fine

BrahTheSunGod
November 8th 2009


1279 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Qwe speaks the truth. 3, 3.5 tops

EverythingEvil2113
November 8th 2009


1279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

easy to digest means no upset stomach



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy