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Treefight for Sunlight

A Collection of Vibrations for Your Skull

(Friendly Fire; US: 8 Nov 2011; UK: 14 Feb 2011)

Danish upstarts Treefight for Sunlight whip up a frenzy of hazy, dreamy pop that calls to mind those Flaming Lips, MGMT, Panda Bear, and under-sung heroes Sparks. The Copenhagen quartet doesn’t necessarily break loads of new ground, though the holes it does dig are deep and surprising.


The album’s second song, “A Dream Before Sleep”, commingles Smile-era Beach Boys with a dash of Philip Glass’s quirky awesomeness. The whole thing lasting just under three minutes but feeling like a joyous journey across the ages as the lads ooh-and-ahhh through those damned fine harmonies and create vibes that are as easy to dance to as they are likely to place you into a transcendent pop-laced trance. “The Universe Is a Woman” has no fewer than four cooler-than-cool passages in its first minute that make you want to hit the pause button, go back and marvel at the careful construction and intuitive attention to detail.


“They Never Did Know” revisits the late ‘60s psych pop sound with a dash of the highly dramatic thrown in via acoustic strumming that calls to mind Spaghetti westerns; it all builds to a moment of relentless release, a shower of harmonies that give one of the sense of being in freefall. It’s rare enough to find music that makes you feel the way this does and rarer still to find music that can sustain those feelings past the three-minute mark.


But sustain it this lot does, right through the almost Yes-ish “Facing the Sun” and the classically-inflected “Rain Air”, which is about as beautiful and childlike as a song can get—a real gem among gems. “Riddles and Rhymes” adds many of the same touches as “Rain Air” as the two engage in a battle for the distinction of being the album’s best tune. Several spins in, this writer can still only declare it an absolute tie.


The final two tracks are “What Became of You And I?” and “Time Stretcher”, a five-and-a-half minute culmination of all that came before, replete with big and booming Spector-esque drums and a beautiful, understated resolution. Two other pieces, both miniscule but nonetheless mighty, appear here—the opening invocation “A Dream Before Sleep” and the utterly unusual “Tamourhinoceros Jam”.


Ultimately it’s as if the West Coast of the ‘80s, the one responsible for birthing and nurturing the Paisley Underground into exuberant health and a prolonged adulthood that has spanned decades, landed in Copenhagen and put down deep, nurturing roots that fed and clothed and bathed the Treefight For Sunlight lads in their infancy and beyond.


And then it’s all over, an all-too-brief 35 minutes of purely enjoyable pop layered in sunshine and peace and love and good happiness stuff. Thoroughly enjoyable and worth many, many happy repeated listens. These lads hail from the same city as the Raveonettes and the Kissaway Trail but it’s fairly clear that Treefight and the Treefight-friendly Oh No Ono are the clear Danish exports at the moment.

Rating:

Jedd Beaudoin is an award-winning writer and broadcaster. He holds an MFA in creative writing (fiction) from Wichita State University and hosts Strange Currency six nights week for Wichita Public Radio. His writing has appeared in No Depression and The Crab Orchard Review as well as at websites such as Ytsejam.com and Amazon.com.


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Treefight for Sunlight - What Became of You and I?
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