Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Family Trees on father/daughter Records
Family Trees is just freaking gorgeous, like that fragmented, overexposed double negative photo on the sleeve. It's all that's left of that vacation. Shimmery guitars and guy/girl harmonies informed with some of that West coast surf reverb. The echo is tighter here, and it just slightly leans towards a '50s kind of girl group sound. A full arrangement of huge room kick drums and tremolo electric guitar with vocalizations all throughout.
The A-Side "Dream Talkin" makes use of brilliant pieces of almost minimal melodies that come and go so quickly, it takes a few plays to appreciate completely. For instance, in between verses a heavy over-driven reverb guitar plays along with a hint of xylophone...or bells (?) but there is a bassline that breaks out from the background at an entirely different speed that is so damn catchy. I'm torn...I wish it was the focus of the entire song, but that's why Family Trees are so good...to hold this back? You'll always been craving these moments...and they just pile them on anyway. The back and forth harmonies with the ooooo's, tambourines and shakers: it does all of this things really succinctly and briefly, like the Fresh & Onlys pop haze, with more melancholy and space.
"Baby Come Back" has this moment of harmony, the way it changes...the combination of melody in the chorus is dead on Jens Lekman...if he fronted a caffeinated Belle and Sebastian. The way they find a sound, like strumming the electric near the tuning pegs to get that great harp chime sound....but it's barely audible under the vocal harmonies, it adds more than just the typical homage sound to that era, it improves on it. Well... it makes it sound more than contemporary...and it's not just because it's this sunny pop that's been going on lately. It's understated, they gently coax the tracks together. Just barely stepping on the kick pedal, grazing the strings. It's weird to hear this hushed, huge reverb sound. They've hit on a combination of perfect pop-psyche sound with really intricate songwriting.
I can't get over this first side, both of these are such great tracks, they did you the favor of putting the A and B side together, so they could etch the other side...wait, there's another track?
"Know one will ever know" on the B-Side. Here they keep up this somber, deadpan echo vocals with Amanda's backup ahhhhhh's and joining in for the chorus. There's no formula here, you can hear the layers of construction beyond just a clever melody. I know this might not be a compliment to some people, but it's that same feeling listening to the Vivian Girls first single on Woodsist. Comforting and new.
On clear vinyl with xerox inserts from the Family and father/daughter with digital download card....Get it from father/daughter Records.