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A delayed ramble on Delay Trees


Sometime late last year I mentioned a new Finnish band called Delay Trees and how I was so massively excited over their debut and how they had a couple of really awesome songs out and et cetera. Then they disappeared from Rambling Fox without a trace. No mention afterwards, no top 10 of 2010 placement, nothing. There was a lot of hype over the album in the Finnish media – was it all a hollow bait this poor rambling fox caught and got trapped by?

For the first three-four tracks, the self-titled debut of the band makes you believe that all the hype surrounding it is indeed justified and that we’re talking about one of the of the seminal releases of 2010 and a stunning debut to boot. “Gold”‘s thick, strong atmosphere which it eventually replaces with sheer sound is an archetypically potent opener that introduces the listener with the band’s sound and album’s general traits in a way that feels like you’re sinking into it, and it’s followed by “Cassette 2012” and “About Brothers”: two chunks of melodic heaven that sound as lovely and beautifully hazy as a sunny summer morning, effortlessly gliding through the speakers in the most brilliant way. “Pattern” isn’t as great as the trio before it but it gives the necessary quiet spot where to get a breathe in after the start, and is wonderful in its own way.

However, to find a debut album which is genuinely a full-blown triumph is a rare occurrence: to my ears brilliance tends to take practice and honing, and you rarely get a newborn group hitting that on their very first big step. And no matter how much you roll it around in your head, no matter how much you sink into the remainder of Delay Trees’ debut, it’s always blatantly clear that this is the first step. The rest of Delay Trees’ debut walks on the same path as the first four tracks but not as confidently: the same tricks, from dreamy atmospheres to gorgeous melodies, are repeated over and over again but to a lesser effect. Credit where credit’s due, they all sound distinct enough from each other but they do not carry the same inspired excellence of the start of the album. The last two tracks seem to regain it slightly but I’m not sure if it’s because the songs are genuinely that great or if it is because the band are crossing new borders in them – “Whales & Colors” strips down to the bare essentials as a counterpoint to the rest of the highly textured album and definitely stands out (and sounds rather pretty while at it), while “4:45 AM” throws off the restraints from the urge to go into a massive anthem-a-like that the rest of the album manages to keep in place, resulting in a gigantic, grand closer track that hits the spot in my tastebuds that likes when things go out with a bang.

I’ll definitely join in the choir who hypes up Delay Trees as a band. It’s clear that these guys have a really great future ahead unless something random and catastrophical happens. But the album itself doesn’t warrant that praise itself yet. Good, with some absolutely fantastic songs? Definitely. But still clearly a work of a band who haven’t yet managed to slot all the puzzle pieces perfectly together. When that happens I have no doubt great things are going to happen. But for now, regardless of not being as great as expected it’s still fairly easy to throw positivity towards this. It’s a good and excitingly promising start.

MP3: About Brothers
MP3: Cassette 2012

Cassette 2012

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