Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Album Review: Treefight For Sunlight- A Collection of Vibrations for Your Skull

Album Rating: B-
Sometimes music is more seasonal than it is conditional. Sometimes music is more about the temperature outside than the metaphorical temperature of our hearts. In winter we listen to whatever albums give us the most warmth, in spring we listen to whatever albums give us the most hope, in summer we listen to whatever albums define our "youthful pleasures," and in the fall we tend to listen to want to listen to something that is as colorful and comforting as the leaves that are constantly falling at our feet. This is why you might listen to Merriweather Post Pavilion the most in the winter months, it is why you might listen to Forget and Not Slow Down in the most in the fall months, it is why you might listen to Helplessness Blues the most in the fall, and it is why Pet Sounds might be the perfect soundtrack to your youthful summer.

Most bands know the season that their music is perfect for though. Animal Collective has attempted making an album for just about every season, most concept albums only deal with one particular climate, and I have heard hundreds of bands say that they wanted to make "the ultimate summer album." Most bands know that they can only define one season at a time just like we humans know we can only take one day at a time. An album that tries to define multiple seasons is about as rare as a TLC show that does not involve little people. Just about every band knows their season.

But apparently Treefight For Sunlight refused to conform to my "one season theory." Apparently they were bold enough to try to make the album that was perfect for just about any season. This album has songs that can make you feel warm, songs that can give you hope for the future, songs that can define your most youthful moments, and songs that are both colorful and comforting. The natural talent of this band is nothing short of incredible. At times they can give you the snowy electronic sound of Animal Collective, at times they can give you the folk driven sound of Fleet Foxes, at times they can give you the summer love pop sound of the Beach Boys, at times they can give you the colorful hope of Relient K, and at times they are creative and bold enough to combine all of these great influences. When the band is at their best they are able to make songs like "Facing The Sun," a song with an acoustic Beach Boys feel, the hopefulness of Relient K, the vocals of an Animal Collective song, and the overall feel of the Fleet Foxes hit. When the band correctly uses all of these influences the result is beautiful music that refuses to be defined by time or even season.

The boldness that is A Collection of Vibrations For Your Skull's biggest strength also ends up being its biggest weakness. Some of the songs on this album just sound like they are trying to hard. While "Facing The Sun" was a gorgeous combination of all of the bands influences, "Rain Air" sounds more like a piano driven mess than an actual attempt at a memorable song. While "The Universe Is A Woman" is the perfect love song for any season, "What Became of You and I?" seems like it is more of a riddle than an actual Beach Boys type love song. While "A Dream Before Sleep" is an almost flawless introduction to the album, "Time Stretcher" seems to be doing exactly what its title suggest. When A Collection of Vibrations For Your Skull is at its best it sounds like a combination of Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes, The Beach Boys, and Relient K's unreleased greatest hits albums. When the album is at its worst though the music seems confused, directionless, and more of a puzzle than an actual album.

I think Treefight For Sunlight is going to figure out the puzzle eventually though. Once they put the pieces together they have potential to craft what could be a timeless album. They have potential to create an album that you can listen to for warmth, an album that you can listen to for hope, an album that you can listen to for color, and an album that you can listen to be reminded of your youth. Once they finish the puzzle they can create an album that is timeless combination of Animal Collective, the Beach Boys, Relient K, and Fleet Foxes. On A Collection of Vibrations for Your Skull, Treefight for Sunlight prove that they have not figured out the puzzle just yet. But they also prove that they are one of the few bands that is actual trying to put it together.

1. A Dream Before Sleep
2. You and The New World
3. The Universe is a Woman
4. They Never Did Know
5. Facing The Sun
6. Rain Air
7. Tambourhinoceros Jam
8. Riddles in Rhymes
9. What Became of You and I?
10. Time Stretcher

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