If These Trees Could Talk

Above The Earth, Below The Sky

Written by: DR on 05/01/2010 16:18:13

As some of you may know, it was recently that time of year when we celebrate some dead guy's birth by eating turkey, getting drunk and exchanging gifts whilst at all times hoping the objects of our gift-giving affections aren't too disappointed by what we've given them. Being the awkward age of 19, I'm typically fairly difficult to buy for: I'm too old to be interested in toys (cough), and not quite old enough to only be interested in socks. So I get vouchers. iTunes vouchers to be exact. And because there was nothing specific that I wanted, I had decided to let that old music deity Last.fm choose for me by running through my recommendations. Amongst the interminable dross that Last.fm outrageously finds it acceptable to promote to me was If These Trees Could Talk.

Suffice to say, whatever the hell 'it' is, ITTCT are in possession of a grand supply of it. I know such high praise gets thrown around today as often as pleasantries do, but they genuinely have a panache about them. Part of what makes this album so special is that it doesn't really try to be anything special; it's not pretentious nor is it ostentatious. The songs are kept relatively short - the album is only 44 minutes long, which is short for post-rock. It's a straightforward, high-tempo'd approach to post-rock that goes right for the jugular every time, and more often than not (which is never), they reach it. This aboveboard attitude results in ITTCT being more accessible than most instrumental bands, but that's their appeal.

If, at all, you have doubts about whether they can consistently pull off the climatic endings whilst somehow giving each song its own space, allowing it to stand on its own feet and deserving of its own merit without it becoming a large, noisy, cluster of crashing and crescendo. The answer to those doubts is: yes, they can. They have a wide repertoire, they can pull of the ethereal climax, see "The Flames of Herostratus"; the aggressive finish, see "What's In The Ground Belongs To You", the slightly more typical post-rock swelling, see "Thirty-Six Silos". And before you go thinking that this band can only pull off the big theatrical culminations, they prove that they do have a softer side in "Deus Ex Machina", which is nothing other than guitar but leads to simple and gentle ending to an otherwise immense and powerful album.

"Above The Earth, Below The Sky" seizes your attention, without relenting. If These Trees Could Talk are here, they're not afraid, and they don't hold back. Though I don't think post-rock will ever truly become 'mainstream', but if there's one album from 2009 that's unassuming, and good enough to be accepted by those that aren't necessarily fans of the style in the first place, this is it. It's the kick up the arse post-rock has been in need of, and if you're not careful, it might just blow you away.


Download: From Roots To Needles, What's In The Ground Belongs To You, The Flames of Herostratus
For Fans of: Caspian, pg.lost, God Is An Astronaut
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 11.03.2009

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