Climbing Trees : Hebron2013 : Staylittle Music
Formed in 2011 in Pontypridd, Climbing Trees released their first album in 2013. Their distinct 'Cymrucana' sound blends evident US influences, including a seasoning of early Crosby, Stills and Nash, but with roots much closer to home. They have gathered plaudits widely, including being chosen as one of the twelve emerging Welsh artists for the inaugural BBC Wales/ Arts Council Horizons Project (2014).
Hebron is their debut, the result of eighteen months or so honing their sound. They recorded it in week blocks staying at Mwnci Studios in Carmarthenshire.
The three opening tracks are strong, starting with the insistent Aloisi, then the gospel phrasing and sound of Burning Candle. The opening harmonies of Happen are soon supported by a lilting piano, and the song soars.
Deceptively simple at times, the evocative and poignant songs are built through interweaving harmonies, guitar and keyboards. The musicianship is excellent throughout, particularly on the atmospheric instrumental Hebron, and the voice-as-instrument haul of Ahab.
The last two songs, Setting Sun and the piano instrumental Nos, bring the whole to a beautifully realised, bucolic close.
In the end the album is simply very, very good.
[buy Hebron from Bandcamp - £7][2015 : Staylittle Music]
Which brings us onto Graves.
Released at the end of November 2015, this is the first song from what will be their second CD. It signals its intent with a quiet church organ / acoustic guitar intro, before the drums and electric guitar show that this is a new harder, louder sound. It is a song of small town lives lost and emptied, and redemption, and the accompanying video captures this. It is also one of the best music videos featuring a man eating a doner kebab ever shot.
Compelling music and effortlessly crafted emotional resonance.
[buy Graves from Bandcamp - £1-2]