Lowly, the Tree Ghost have an intriguing sound that is part folk, part blended harmonies that you’ve probably never heard before. Their latest EP Tall Tales brings a mixture of folk stylings that shows both toe tappers and some a little more solemn tunes.
The first track “Jumpin’ Java” has a nice blend of harmonies, full band, and perfect violin backing. The hand claps and snare drum really keep the track moving, while the harmonies keep it feeling comfortable. If you listen with headphones on, there’s an sweet balancing trick that throws the vocals on the left side in the chorus while they are balanced on the verses. It’s pretty cool.
The second track “Great American Spirit” mixes piano and violin for a naturally-crescendoing opening that builds anticipation for the song. It’s the kind of song that the listener feels as much as hears. What makes it work so well is the manipulation of emotions as it continues to build throughout the track. The song’s lyrics are about the looming spirit world, bring two lovers together. It’s got a disconnected and abstract quality about it that some listeners will really enjoy.
With a title like “Genealogy” and a beginning like a mid 60s oldie, I was excited for the third track. The percussion-heavy sound and again beautiful violin highlights, I was captivated. The characteristic LTTG harmonies make the song pop in a number of ways. “Whatever you’re running from…” seems to introduce listeners to a story of either a prodigal son or some other seemingly broken family. The thing is, the lyrics on this song don’t even matter because the vocals are just so good. “In your mothers eyes… in your father’s arms… in your sister’s cries… in your brother’s charm…” It’s a full band folk song in the vein of Mumford and Sons that a lot of people will really like.
“Oh the Monsters” slows things down a little bit and might be the best song on the album. The two part harmonies on the song are really phenomenal. “The monsters under your bed just need a friend.” It’s quaint. It’s sweet. It’s wonderful and comfortable and all of the things you want a song like this to be. It’s superb. “For all the things you’re going through, I assure you they won’t last. Cause in the darkness in the little things can cast such a large shadow. But in the morning the sun will rise.” See, that’s pretty darn perfect, isn’t it?
The last track “Anthrocopene” is another folk anthem that will put a smile on the face of a lot of our readers. What makes it so good is not that it sounds like any other band in particular. But it’s a song that you can root for. It’s the kind of jam that keeps us coming back for more. It’s the perfect conclusion to the album because it provides not just “more of the same” but a glimpse toward a full band progression that could go in many different directions. Listeners get the sense that LTTG could do the “rock thing” or they could do the “folk thing,” or, frankly, sing all soft sweet lullabies that we would love, too. That versatility comes through in “Anthrocopene.”
All in all this is a delightful little album that confirms for us that LTTG are a band worth keeping in our sights. It would be great to hear what else they have going, including the incorporation of strings and horns that give the band such full sounds. Yet, the stripped down duet style shows the power of two good, compatible voices. This is definitely an album that a lot of our readers will enjoy, so give it a quick spin. If you like “Oh the Monsters” as much as I do, it’s worth the album purchase.