The Treetop Flyers hail from London (…well mostly London) but there is more than a touch of the Americanas about their music. This is not entirely surprising for a band named after a Stephen Stills’ song. The band’s American influences pour out through their music. Their second album, Palomino, will be released on 11 March 2016.
The opening track is “You Darling, You”. It features an odd synth sound and I must admit to being unsure of it at first. Next up though is “Sleepless Nights” where Neil Young(ish) vocals vocals feature and I began to relax into the band’s sound. Track three, “Lady Luck” starts off quite downbeat but grows nicely. Rasping, pained vocals towards the end and a bit of flute (I do like a bit of flute!) over melancholy piano and wailing guitar at the end. “It’s A Shame” has a T-Rex like guitar at the start and some great vocals. They reminded me of Ha Ha Tonka in this track. I especially liked the chorus with the repeated chanting of: “Shame”. “St Andrew’s Cross” with a nice acoustic, echoing live feel to it. I can imagine it working well in an unplugged set. A couple more of the tracks stood out for me: “31 Years”, the vocals really shine on this track; and “Never Been As Hard”, strong bass opening, atmospheric guitars and some discordant piano noodling at end. The album closes with “Wild Winds” which is has a pop-influenced introduction with a drum beat to get your foot stomping and a wilder, weirder, middle section.
By the band’s own admission, they have been through the mill since the release of their first album and they described the recoding of Palomino as therapeutic. I may be reading too much into the CD cover, but to me there is something of the graveyard in the artwork: a chair that’s reminiscent of a tombstone and a hand bursting, Carrie-style, out the ground. So, are we to assume the therapy has not worked? Well, perhaps it has, since the hand is not trapped but rising up clutching a flame; a flame with a cross at the centre; a flame of hope?
If you have a hankering for the Americanas and are not adverse to a bit of experimentation, check out Palomino. You won’t be disappointed.