Five years in the making, The Dreaming Tree returns with their fourth album, Silverfade. More than a few words could describe this volume. Ambitious, might be one, if only for the album's length. There's over 60 minutes of progressive rock to this long-player. There's nothing wrong with that, especially if the band and the songs can keep your attention. Otherwise, brevity also has its rewards.
So, in one sense, the length of the album did cause some tedium for this listener. That's not to say that the album is dull, uninteresting, or a disappointment. On the contrary, but there is much to absorb and with some songs the progress plods and bogs down, at the very start. For example, Every Minute Lost, even with its sharp riffs plods along at the start, almost continuously to the end. But then it's redeemed by Floydish female vocals and stinging guitar solos in the second half. This can be a similar pattern. Loose It Off, as another example, has this slow start, but you have bear with it. Then vocalist Chris Buckler advances the song with his faux rapping. It's set against this jazzy arrangement and following spicy guitar solo. Even later, there's Kosovo, which nearly lulled me to sleep in the first half. Then, what happens at midpoint and after? Yup. Things get lively, even heavy as the guitar riffs and leads come in. With these songs, I wonder if there was not two, possibly three, songwriters with completely different approaches and expectations as to the final arrangement of the song. Other songs merely seem to meander in the arrangement like Song In 7 and The Ocean. For the latter, even with the briefest of saxophone at the beginning and end, the song seemed lazy, sleepy.
Alternatively, there are some songs of interest. One is the quite short Jaded Summer Long, easily the heaviest song, all bare bone riffs and Buckler's most aggressive vocals. Another is Yours To Find. Again with some sharp guitar moments, it has this interesting mixture of pop accessibility and jazz fusion in it's arrangement. Yesterday's Tomorrow has some of that same melodic 'pop' rock feeling, being more lively and forthcoming in it's approach. The guitar structure may lead, but I also enjoyed the piano dropped into the background. While still a bit dragging at times, for some of Dan Jones' best guitar work, the longer Forever Not Forever is quite satisfying. In the end, while definitely creative, and generally intriguing and entertaining, Silverfade seemed to require more effort than necessary to enjoy and appreciate, whether by it's overall length or by song arrangements themselves. I recommend you visit The Dreaming Tree web site where you can hear samples of the songs, and then form your own opinion.
In the end, while definitely creative, and generally intriguing and entertaining, Silverfade seemed to require more effort than necessary to enjoy and appreciate, whether by it's overall length or by song arrangements themselves.
If anything can be said about founder and guitarist Michel St-Pere and his Mystery, he and the band are prolific in their output. If they're not offering consistent studio albums, the band delivers live CD/DVDs ... [ Read More ]