|Add Date:||2006-01-15|| ||Pull Date:||2006-03-19|| |
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|matthew stark rubin|
Espers, The Weed Tree. Locust Music. 2005. FCC CLEAN|
Reviewed by DJ Matthew Stark Rubin 1/11/2005
Baroque indie folk. If you’ve ever heard Pentangle, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Sounds like what hipsters would play at a medieval carnival; the perfect soundtrack to any D&D game. Very pretty guitar-picking accompanied by cool but nicely subtle percussion and other aux meanderings (recorder, bells, etc.). The occasional synths sound not like pianos or organs, but like full-bodied, discretion-be-damned SYNTHS. All but one of these songs is a cover or traditional number, but the whole thing sounds coherent, just as if they wrote each song. The album is drop-dead GORGEOUS; the meticulous production of Brian McTear (Lilys, Scout Niblet) is a thing to behold, it lets every background idea speak fully. Finally, folksters forgetting about trying to be freaks and instead giving us a work of freakish beauty. Picks: 1, 3*,5, 6 (LONG), 7
1- parrsleysagerosemarythyme-esque guitar picking with pretty, thin-sounding girl vox, sometimes harmonizing with herself. Nice, fat bass synth joins with percussion and gets mystical. Dark, repetitive, gorgeous.
2- RIYL Iron and Wine,-nice and gentle, melodies bordering on pop but still somber. Man and Woman singing together. Cool recorder part.
3- Classic traditional song. SO DARK it’s unbelievable. Bell part in the background is PERFECT. Nice cello, man/woman harmonies, with woman at the helm. A slow dirge that requires but rewards the patient listener.
4- More triumph, less sadness; still bittersweet though. Nice glockenspiel.
5- The guitars on this sound almost like harpsichord. This song screams ATMOSPHERE, its background sound bed is super thick and full. Nice harmony vox, this time driven by el hombre. The synth party at the end is sweet.
6- Something about this song screams Arthur Lee. Moves a bit more than the rest: more conventional drums, radio-ready song structure. Of all the covers, this one makes the least sense; sounds a bit forced...at first. But it EXPLODES at the end into some serious 60’s British Psych Rock Freak Out. And that part fucking rules. Ends suddenly, as if the freak out randomly got cut off.
7- More Simon/Garfunkel rustic guitar picking- beautiful. Nice, forceful, doubled female vox. Then opens up into an Eastern-sounding waltz with strings and synth. Fades out. The sole Espers-penned tune on the record. Awesome.