Like many, I am not a fan of labeling music according to genre. When someone asks what this or that band sounds like I always pause; I look to the ceiling or the floor for a magic answer that will adequately put into words, that of which, I had heard with my heart. It is what makes me a poor salesman. But, if you want to sit down with me over a beer or two and listen to a record, then you can decide for yourself which box you need to file them in for quick referencing. Chances are, the artist making the music didn't have a demographic chart when they were writing the songs (although, I'm sure some 'artists' do) so, instant labeling, "alternative folk", or "Americana", seems unfair and insulting in relation to the creativity a musician puts into an album. However, this is my job. An initial one line description of the Treetop Flyers: a Neo- traditionalist, developed, harmony rich band with guitar based songs that are expertly performed and produced.
The Treetop Flyers, hailing from England, are a prime example of multiple facets of inspiration and influences making their brand of music difficult to pigeonhole. They garnered some attention in 2011, at the Glastonbury Music Festival emerging talent competition and went onto release the fine, "Mountain Moves", in 2013.
Their new album , "Palamino", was released a few months ago on Loose Music and it is an incredibly rich, multilayered, and rewarding listen. The band recorded the album themselves at Soup Studios and the self confidence has paid off immensely. They have actualized their hybrid world of influences into a unique document all their own, without the distraction of external opinions. It lends a cohesiveness to the album, which should be listened to in a full sitting. There is a comfortable, well worn vibe throughout. A classic approach to the sound, aided by the talent of Jonathan Wilson (Father John Misty) who mixed the record in LA. They have plucked genius from a multitude of 20th century inspiration, sounding like America with the soulful groove of Motown.
The sharp opening of "You, Darling You" sets the tone, a mid tempo, catchy song, embellished with synthesizers and delivered with Reid Morrison's unique soulful voice. It’s the perfect introduction into the world of the Treetop Flyers; strong melodies, taut rhythms, and gentle coatings of keyboards that swell and recede. There is tension and a pastoral flavor as well, especially in the delicate melancholy of, "St. Andrews Cross". The performance here is one of vulnerability, both intimate and longing. There is a sweeping mid tempo ease that propels the music. "Sleepless Nights" and "It’s a Shame" bounce along these lines and showcase the tight harmonies evocative of CSNY and some deft guitar interplay, which winds their way through the songs with discreet precision. The highlight of the album is , "Dance Through The Night", a fantastically crafted multi- styled journey. Replete with a Santana, Doors, and Steely Dan-like instrumental passage. It’s a more stretched out track and an obvious joy for the band to play. It distills all the elements that make them great and allows them expand on them to great effect.
I highly recommend picking up a copy of, "Palamino" and checking it out for yourself. Anyone who is a fan of Midlake, Dawes, My Morning Jacket or Promised Land Sound will not be disappointed.