The second album from LA band The Smoking Trees, TST fuses sunny psychedelia with a knack for aural bliss. It’s simultaneously understated and gloriously infectious, creeping up on you when you least expect it. Dripping with laidback West Coast vibes that should be all over the radio this summer. Out on vinyl LP from Ample Play.
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- TST by The Smoking Trees
8/10 Robin Staff review, 06 July 2015
The Smoking Trees sound like they’ve smoked a lot of trees. On the self-titled and then abbreviated ‘TST’ they offer up one of the year’s chillest psych records, making the space station sound like it’s melting under the hot sun of Primavera as Real Estate take off their astronaut helmets. Borrowing baroque arrangements that wouldn’t be out of place in a lot of late ‘90s indie pop, and then microwaving some ready-made Beatles melodies a la the Cairo Gang, they make a record full to the brim with sweet spots.
These dudes are slackers at heart, with a loose drumbeat lazily launching each song and then carrying it with all the indifference in the world -- the arrangements, though, betray a different kind of band, one with a love of well ornamented pop music inspired by George Harrison and songwriters of his ilk. It’s slow and distant, and it has some of psych’s most alienating tricks -- The Trees always sound far away with thanks to the spacey, reverberating treatment of their vocals, and they occasionally try to launch into a sitar-smacked trip by way of “Tomorrow Never Knows” -- but it sounds touching at the same time. The Smoking Trees will tell you that you’re their best friend, strum acoustic guitars as insurance against your anxieties, and coo. They will coo.
‘TST’ is only the Trees’ second record, but it establishes a sound that goes against the grain of psych rock’s current flow: here’s a hazy, druggy wash of sound being punctuated by a plethora of delighted melodies, the type that are fleeting so we'll miss them when they're gone. The Smoking Trees are floating up above you like a couple of hallucinated guardian angels. It's nice.
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