Thursday, May 18, 2017

“Borders” by Climbing Trees – An Album Review

     In the current music-consumption era, singles satisfy the appetites of most of us. Songs are purchased individually, and the collections are easily organized and reorganized into playlists. Playing singles in the “old, old school” era of vinyl was limited to stacking a small number of 45rpm discs on a spindle. The advancement to the era of cassettes allowed a listener to record a series of singles, but there were still inconveniences, particularly if the owner grew tired on a song on the cassette.
     Yes, the world of digital collections has many advantages. But a negative impact is that the quality of an album is often missed (don’t see the beauty of the forest, because you’re pleased with a tree?). That was our error with the album from Climbing Trees. Finally, after being struck by a third single from the album “Borders,” the light went on. If asked to identify our favorite song from the “Borders” album, the response will depend upon which of three songs we heard last.

     Climbing Trees are from Pontypridd, South Wales. The members are Matthew Frederick (piano, guitar, vocals), Colenso Jones (guitar, bass, vocals), Martin Webb (guitar, bass, vocals), and James Bennetts (drums, percussion, vocals).

    “Tracks” has a piano-based beginning with a Coldplay feel to it, but thoughts turn to Red Hot Chili Peppers after the vocals arrive. If there is only a “soft focus” on the song for the first portion, things change at 1:33, when the guitar first hooks the listener and then reels her in. Still, the feature that makes “Tracks” special occurs later. For most crescendos, our enjoyment is in the journey through the intensity increase. For “Tracks,” the journey is a treat and the final destination is the reason for celebration. The multi-stage crescendo starts at 2:16, and carries the listener to a destination (2:49) that includes a larger dose of the guitar hook (from 1:33).  
     “Tracks” by Climbing Trees

     “Graves” shows the versatility of Climbing Trees. If it is comparable to another band, it certainly isn’t Red Hot Chili Peppers or Coldplay. Instead, we would point to Outlaws. The skillful guitar work and the selection of guitars (and processing) remind us of “Green Grass and High Tides.”
     “Graves” by Climbing Trees

     “Lost” is the most recent release from the “Borders” album. The song is more dependent upon vocals than either “Tracks” or “Graves.” And despite the relatively sparse lyrics, the song doesn’t disappoint. 
     “Lost” by Climbing Trees

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