Perhaps the most frustrating part of music consumption is found in its description. Every listener comes across that feeling in the pit of their stomach when they hear something truly soul stirring. Immediately we have to tell our friends and those around us of the gem we have uncovered. We often mix genres and name drop bands in order to convince our skeptical peers of the transcendent sound. This anxiety is multiplied if you are a writer with a larger audience than you deserve.
It helps when an artist gives you an accurate description. “We’re a dynamic colorful soup of different vibes . . . we try to give the listener different atmospheres and feelings” contemplatively shares Elvind Frustøl from the phenomenal Norwegian band Over the Trees. Playing in various bands before, Frustøl felt restricted to the post-rock genre, a description that while accurate with his latest project is only the beginning of its deeply rich and dynamic sound. Like many band origin stories, this one has a string of serendipitous encounters. The frontman Elvind knew Mathias Christoffer Jensen, who plays guitar in the band, from a previous act and then recruited Arne Steinar Myrvang who was the “baddest” drummer around who attended the same music school.
The thing that strikes you almost immediately about the Oslo based act is their many influences and beautiful production. “Mathias made me aware of Radiohead and Sigur Rós . . . and shoe gaze sounds. I’ve always liked old American and British music and folk rock like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin.” Frustrøl explains. This mix of influence builds a complex and building sound that sets them apart from the post-rock audience. A fellow classmate recommended a church in the area that could be recorded in to help give the band the best sound that served each individual song. The end production result on their debut LP From the Sidewalk are ten soaring and lush tracks that flow together in a beautiful tapestry of sonic art.
Of the ten songs that make up the album, “Become” is one of my personal favorites. “It is about a longing to be free, for love and the trials of life . . . it describes the stuff I went through at that time . . . the stuff that binds us . . . and for something greater to come out of it.” There is a palpable spiritual aspect to many songs on the LP and on this one it is especially true. The spiritual and physical journey of the lead singer is further illustrated on what he described as his favorite track “Hello Oslo”, which has a definite folk vibe.
The band is planning on touring in the summer and fall with a show in their hometown of Oslo on May 26th. Perhaps unexpectedly, they are releasing their album in Japan in hopes the scene takes to their blended sound. Over the Trees have played a few shows in the states and I asked Elvind how the audiences were different in America as opposed to in Norway. “The American audience can often be more attached and open,” he says surprisingly. We hope for them to come back soon and will definitely be covering when they do. Their genre bending album From the Sidewalk is out now and it would behoove you to get a copy of what is a early best of 2017 album candidate.