Sand Snowman and Chris Wade worked magnificently together for “Tell the Trees it’s autumn again”
, creating the perfect soundtrack for autumn. In case you don’t know the artists, Gavan Kearney (Sand Snowman) has already released 10 albums and has collaborated, among others, with Steven Wilson. Chris Wade is a Leeds based musician, writer and illustrator, most known for his music project Dodson and Fogg.
A warm and heartfelt sound throughout the 13 songs of the album gives the listener an original experience of creative psych folk music. The mood ranges from melancholic to psychedelic and the songs are blending in each other, giving the impression of a composition with 13 parts.
Sitting through the whole album is like entering a trance like state, where you follow the guitar into a musical maze. The rhythm guitar parts are the dominant force in each track, setting the unique identity of Sand Snowman’s delicate and hypnotic acoustic tunes. Chris Wade’s smooth vocals are relaxing yet dynamic, discreetly adding to the depth of the songs, as another instrument.
Although an independent, underground release, the songs are catchy, with a beatlesque touch underneath the excellent songwriting. Spinning Jenny
, which features guest vocals from The Moon Band's Renée Forrester, is a post punk-folky tune accompanied by an angry electric guitar riff and an early standout in all its underlying edginess. Chimes of Winter
, an instrumental featuring a playful glockenspiel, flute and violin. reveals a very effective, depressed Zeppelin vibe.
However, the highlight comes toward the end of the album, as Acts of Life
proves to be a fuzzy dark masterpiece, with a guitar solo that spices up the downbeat tempo.
“Tell the trees”
is a moody album and emotional draining at times. The slow tempo of the songs can be a bit monotonous after a while, although the dedicated listener will discover a lot of worthy details in the songs. If you engage to its ethereal appeal, its unique musical taste and sensibility will be rewarding. Production-wise the guitar parts sound a little higher than other instruments in some songs, which is the last turn off.
Overall, this is a record that mixes folk with classical and cinematic touches, with originality. It is not meant for the charts, nor is destined to be a cult overlooked classic. It is a very good album in its own terms, completely out of the norm folk, that will seduce those who search something different yet exquisite.