Review Summary: Patience, Bandoneon Boy.
And Also the Trees have dominated the Post-Punk cult status. Everyone involved adores them, everyone on the outside isn’t even aware this kind of music exists. But one thing is for sure, their blend of atmospheric and subtle triumph with mysterious, visceral and patient instrumentation and song-writing is beyond comprehension. And nowhere have they perfected that as on this album.
I could liken the sound of this album to a traditional European fairy-tale (say, of Grimm brothers’ authorship). It is enigmatic, slow, brooding, but magnificently chilling and piercing with its dark, menacing calm and restraint. The often soft and pleasant melodies are bittered by thick, sticky treacle of unease hanging in the air. So do the gentle ‘La, la, las‘ of the song “The Beautiful Silence” suddenly sound bittersweet and with a strongly masked torment underneath, especially as the vocalist Simon Huw Jones’ subdued and sophisticated, yet oddly nervous delivery mixes the already unnerving vibe.
But the album isn’t built on quietness only, for each song manages to escalate to surprising, but upon further rumination seemingly logical, overwhelming instrumental explosion. It isn’t bombarding you with exultant hoorays, but rather engulfs with a worrisome, longing beauty of its urgency and carefully built and written tunes set into slowly invigorating volume of its instrumental arrangement.
Songs like “Domed” or “Rive Droite” each build exactly into that rich on emotion, haunting monumental dismay and sorrow, delivered through loudness. On the other hand, cuts such as “May of the Woods” or “The Way the Land Lies” are both fonder of the quiet side of things, never really feeling the necessity to expand musically to deliver their message.
The entire album tests your patience, but never to the point of exhausting you with its slow pace. It cleverly balances the weary feelings and the tuneful music. The lyrics are magnetic in their vagueness and their mysticism is almost brilliantly suggestive without actually revealing the full story. They warn of struggles ahead in lands foreign and home, in arms of strangers and the close ones, on an odyssey and in a dwelling’s comfort. They, and the incredibly gloomy music they are accompanied by (or they themselves accompany), portray a perfect world of darkness. Not darkness of desperation or hopelessness, but rather of acceptance the light’s end, the understanding of which turns to take and what words to preach. And it delivers you its knowledge in a slow and steady manner.