Treebeard - Here Are The Answers EP
Record Label: We Are Triumphant
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Prepping for the future release of a new full-length, Missouri-based Treebeard are the type of band that border the line of musically impressive and accessible. While they combine a number of elements from several genres – not limited to dual vocals, lush melodies and wall of sound dynamics – their five-track EP Here Are The Answers is as equally impressive as it is approachable despite some honest to goodness weirdness to their sound. And while there’s admittedly some room for these guys to still grow as musicians, Here Are The Answers is a strong enough statement for first-time listeners to latch onto in a varied, yet intriguing swirl of guitars and dynamic songwriting.
Funky and a bit wobbly, “Forest Canticle” rocks the EP with a chunky jam that gives way to the grandeur of vapor-like guitar whips and flexible kit-work. It’s a bit jarring at first to hear the central riff of the track, but as we revisit it later on, the dueling rhythmic waves make perfect sense as a compliment to the giant post-rock leaning guitars that poke their head out more often than not on these five tracks. “Haru Tora” finds Treebeard doing a pretty respectful channeling of pre-Blue Sky Noise Circa Survive, even down to the vocal melody and approach, without quite feeling completely uninspired. The dual-vocal approach, clean and screamed, shines well enough here, as the contrast seems even greater when done over the slow, deliberate melodic weaving heard through this track.
“Star Garden” proves to be the catalyst to the EP though, if only because it presents itself in such a diverse matter. Think of the mellower electronic parts ending They’re Only Chasing Safety – it’ll at least get you in the ballpark. But the same qualities of the other tracks still hold true despite the shift in instrumentation and simpler structuring, as the piano/synth lines blend right into a guitar-led bridge that ends up mixes the two together in a tapping blaze of an entrancing nature. It’s one of two seven-minute tracks, the second being the adventurous dynamics of “Whispers of Life on the Wind”. As we hear Treebeard practically run the gamut of their sound – from lighter, percussive driven chillouts to distortion-soaked tsunamis – the seven minutes of this track seem to melt away in the band’s ability to not only gain your attention, but to practically refuse to let go of it through the execution of strong melodies and a stronger attention to the build and release of their dynamics over time.
It’s tough to find faults in an EP such as this, not because you can’t – the band’s sound has obvious points of reference – but because Treebeard pull it off with such confidence that you’d be hard-pressed to believe they aren’t putting their all into it. Granted, “Forest Canticle” starts off a bit shaky, and the production seems to be a little strange at times (“Nalbelroth, City of Ghosts”), but as far as a core sound, Treebeard seems to have a good grasp on what they want to be. It’s just a matter at this point in fine tuning it. Would it be nice to hear the drumming get a touch more aggressive when the guitars go hard? Kind of. But where this EP succeeds is in the capturing nature of these tracks, and despite anything else I might want to say against this EP, I can’t deny the fact that the songwriting is certainly present here.
Here Are The Answers is more than just a pleasant surprise – it’s a well-executed survey of the post-rock landscape with some modest peaks and valleys along the way. Look for these guys to pick up some well-deserved steam with this EP, as their songwriting and musicianship speak volumes toward Treebeard’s drive and ability.