Review Summary: What if any of your local college rock bands were actually really good?
In the end this was just one of many bounces a rock makes skipping over the water. From a distance the ripple is undersized and meager in circumference. A moment in time four people worked together on a common goal. Each member of the band came from the dissociation of other groups and, like the nomad, searched out new bands after this was over. The cycle continues. The rock ricocheted off the top of the water in search of the next zone of impact.
The Treepeople were college kids from the northwest confused about whether to become the next Sonic Youth or Husker Du. They had the late ‘80s alt rock energy combined the with musical ability far above most of their peers. Especially the dual guitar leads of Scott and Doug. Ditching the usual rhythm and lead paradigm, the best songs instead mimic a closely fought boxing match. With each guitar trying to outdo the other. The riffs clash back and forth in unpredictable weaving patterns always looking for the knockout but never finding that moment of weakness.
The same guys participating in the showdown with the six strings also share singing duties. A long taproot in danger of snapping at any moment as it strains tightly from being pulled up out of the dirt is the same stress applied on the vocal chords when pressed over capacity. You hear them grinding. If this album has a theme it is intensity. The singing is no exception and each guy with his own style keeps up the post punk earnestness while pushing through their limited range to keep up with the wearying pace of the instruments.
The two have plenty to yell about. Betrayal, corruption, and if you can understand words yelled through heavy vocal distortion, the downsides of capitalism as well. Throw in a Smiths cover and the cynicism really begins to drip heavily. You can tell there are some liberal arts majors in the group.
The name of this record should be a tip off that is actually just a double EP. It starts out with 8 new songs while an older EP is thrown on the back end to get this to album length. There’s a noticeable difference between the two sections but neither one has skippable tracks. In fact if you don’t dig this by the 3rd song, maybe rock music just isn’t your thing.
In the end internal tensions forced the band apart, but that didn't stop each member from continuing to make good music. Most of the members moved on to form other bands including the underrated Stuntman while Doug established one of the best bands still around today in Built to Spill. There was something unique though while these four were together. For the few years before they pulled an Uncle Tupelo the ripple they started really showed potential for more. The fact that it was cut short doesn’t diminish how good it was.