Treeburner - Treeburner (EP) (2013)


There is a growing trend in music again, one that was prevalent in the early days of rock and roll, and the punk movement; friends playing music together. It had, for a long while, been replaced by manufactured boy bands, and even pieced together rock and metal acts that were more a creation of the labels than the bands themselves. So when you see that Treeburner, a now four piece outfit from Memphis, began as friends who wanted to jam, there is something immediately relatable. Without the music business jargon, and hired gun egos, you have a band that is left to their own means. Music can be written in extended jam sessions, it can be perfected and changed without worry about what the label heads will think, or how many units it will move. And, thus, you get music made without boundaries. With a self titled EP that feels natural and sounds real, this is one friendship that has its rewards.

There is a soothing quality to the opening track, "The Broken Sun," that comes from the combination of strummed clean guitars and the almost tribal drum beat in the background. It is short, sweet and simple, but a good start to any album. Immediately going in a different direction, though, "Heliocentric" is a raucous affair coated a thick layer of distortion and sizzling cymbals. The raw power of the main riff would be enough to keep this one ringing in your ears for days, but they don't stop there. Out with the grit and grime, and in with a bluesy piece of guitar work. It is these moments that the full effect of what the band is trying to accomplish comes through clearly. But it is only when the two sides come together - clean solo and massive, crunching aesthetic - that you can't help but nod in approval. The addition of vocals on "Nebula Raptor" might not be exactly what you expected. In the single lines, they are little more than aggressive yelling. When all three band members, minus drummer Michael Williams, get involved, there is something eerily enjoyable about it. They do little to help the song itself, though, as that honor is taken by a ripping guitar solo in the latter half, followed by some deft bass work.

It is "Cygnus" that sees the creativity level rise and the cohesiveness of the band come along with it. Both guitarists Tobe Todd and Daniel Monaghan lay down their share of lightning riffs and heavy grooves, flanked by Wayne Todd and his low end precision. But it is Williams who exercises his right to rock more than the others, laying down a cascading stream of toms, snares and cymbals that will flood your speakers. Somehow, there is still a semblance of balance to be had here, with no one instrumental taking too much of the pie. With the longest track saved for the end, "Magnet Monolith" is given the task of tying things up in a neat little package. It does so in several ways; not the least of which is the renewed maturity of the vocals, which comes as a pleasant surprise. With the instrumental adopting a more firm sludge nature, the three headed monster of vocals finds a good home. Unlike so many other releases, the breakdown of music into chaos in the closing stanza actually works here, with ringng feedback and pounding drums all that are left at the end.

Whether or not you are musically inclined, we have all thought about gathering up our closest friends and starting a band. Some of us have even done it, like myself. You might not have struck it rich with a big contract or sold out tour, but there is something you can always look back on and enjoy: you probably had a good time doing it. And maybe, just maybe, you wrote a few good tunes along the way. Treeburner are living that dream right now, making music as bandmates and as friends. You get the impression, thanks to these five tracks, that when the recording stopped, they cracked open a drink and sat down together and just talked about things; the time you fucked up that solo, or when you cracked a drum stick and it flew across the room and hit me. And in those times, you realize that making music with friends beats session musicians any day. Now we can wait and see if this can go further.

7/10

Bandcamp - http://treeburner.bandcamp.com/
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/treeburnermemphis