Bellingham Washington three piece Treesplitter seems to have the classic “let’s start a band” scenario down. The band began by playing covers, and the only musical talent any of them had didn’t extend outside being in concert and jazz bands in high school.
Though in just two years that all changed for Treesplitter and they have released their first five track EP Future Ghost. The album was recorded on a budget of two-hundred dollars. Which means it was recorded in somebody’s basement and mastered in somebody’s bedroom. So here’s a kudos to that, coming from a guy who has over his life heard enough home recordings to kill a horse, the production value on Future Ghost is actually very good provided the circumastance.
Digging up some dirt on the actual writing and recording process of Future Ghost reveals a much different story. The five songs were written individually, something which is evident by the time you get to the second track, “If I should” on which single bent guitar notes squeal out with a bagpipe like freakiness, while another dirtier guitar plays Sonic Youth style feedback, and lyrics are somewhat mumbled beneath it all. All this comes in stark contrast to the early emo sounding opening track, “Burning Ships” which opens with shimmering and clean guitars and a metronome drum beat.
The tune “Real” is spacey and epic, and brings in a third esthetic of keyboard. The vocals are soft spoken and spooky, and float along as if they are being held up by a breeze. Then the entire feeling of Future Ghost once again changes with “Reconcile” a dry acoustic ballad that unravels slowly and is song by two vocalists. As “Reconcile” moves along the acoustic guitar takes on a flamenco style quality and bongo-style drums are introduced into the mix. The odd closer, “Pull the Strings,” recalls early TV on the Radio, and employs noise rock elements, and uses synths, samples and a drum machine, it sounds like something you’d hear on an Atari game, before returning to a somewhat more normal song structure.
If I were a doctor I would diagnose Treesplitter as well their album Future Ghost with schizophrenia. I am not trying to knock collaboration or to try and dissuade anyone’s thoughts about what a record in the general sense should be or sound like. In my estimation, something that all bands, the most experimental among them, have on an album, even if only loosely, is some sense of coherency. I know that it’s nice for everyone to get a say sometimes about how things should be done, though sometimes it works best when someone steps up as a leader and lays down a few ground rules. That seems to be what Treesplitter need to do, or else to go solo.
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