Thursday, 20 January 2011

Treefight For Sunlight (Bella Union)

If the dreary, post-new year winter blues are setting in and you’re in need of a morale boost, I would suggest you turn your ear towards the refreshing chamber-pop inspired release that came my way this week in the form of Danish quartet, Treefight For Sunlight.

‘A Dream Before Sleep’ is a subtly grand opening track with it’s repeated cascading piano and lush harmonies. Kicking off with the surreal line “All the nurses are going to leave me” is fitting, as it sounds and feels like we are escaping from reality and begin a journey into the vibrant universe introduced by the aptly titled “You And The New World”, layered with playful guitar riffs and spiritually uplifting vocals.

A new world it is indeed. I wasn’t entirely prepared for the beautifully crafted, multi-layered aural voyage of harmony riddled, echo soaked vocals and piano laden melodies. ‘The Universe Is A Woman’ is a cosmic delight that takes us on a dreamy voyage reminiscent at times of a less obscure and more conventionally structured Animal Collective.

‘They Never Did Know’ is the first track on the album to open with a guitar steering away from the predominantly synth / piano heavy direction it opens with. Alarmingly similar to ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ for the first couple of seconds (sorry but I never did take to the The Smiths), it soon finds an amicable pace and a home on the record.

The nature of the record is fully unleashed on ‘Facing The Sun’ which is nothing short of joy personified. With xylophones accompanying a higher than ever vocal effort strangely reminding me of The Sleepy Jackson’s Luke Steele it’s hard not to forget how miserable it is outside (it probably helps I’m writing this with my curtains drawn tightly shut). There is a certain deliriously trippy charm to this record, as seen on later tracks ‘Rain Air’ and ‘Riddles in Rhymes’, bought to life with a varied use of instruments.

And what better way to wind the record down? The psychedelic and jubilant ‘What Became Of You And I?’ sounds like ELO, The Turtles and The Beach Boys are holding hands, flying a magic carpet over a rainbow whilst smiling like Cheshire cats on ecstasy. Which almost makes the final track ‘Time Stretcher’ seem a tad out of place, with it’s melancholy lyrics “Everything about me / Seems to disappoint me” and relatively down tempo pace (comparatively anyway).

As the Danish lads sing “Time is never ending / Slowly I’m descending” with the combination of a wild unhinged flute spiraling out of control and a crash of the piano keys, we’re sadly at the end of our occasionally chaotic and relentlessly positive journey. It seems the nurses are coming back to drag us back into reality. Shame really.

Words: Neil Phillips

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