ALBUM REVIEW: Climbing Trees – ‘Borders’

Climbing Trees Borders

If you’ve listened to any of Climbing Trees’ work, you’ll understand why their popularity is picking up momentum. Their soaring instrumentals and emotive lyrics leave every second feeling hand crafted. The Welsh four piece released their album ‘Borders’ on July 8th. To call it a success would be a callous understatement.

Don’t be fooled by the seemingly straightforward welcome of opening ‘Tracks’. A piano dominated burst throws you straight in the deep end and asserts the band as a collective confident in their capability of compiling an album. The discussion of ‘home’ and the tendency to let the instrumental speak for itself holds a Fatherson-esque quality and instills a cinematic quality – more on that later.

A tighter sense of control emerges in ‘Lost’, but the instrumentals are still allowed to rear their heads and shake their reins. Often spiralling but never losing their direction as the music swoops and soars, Climbing Trees can plait together layers of sound to create a mural of emotion. A sense of desperate joy creeps into the vocals to add its own decoration.

Let the chatter of percussion that opens ‘Set In Stone’ subside. Enjoy the delicate storytelling – even if it does slip into cliches sometimes – as a hint of positivity creeps into the vocals. Although its easy to get distracted by the crashing waves of ‘Amber’, pay attention to the strings as the undertones work their way to the front of the track.

‘Caeser’ marks an obvious turning point in the mood and direction of the album. The music takes over and slows the pace of the album down, and suddenly everything that came before feels rushed, chaotic, over simplified. It’s a breather, but it knocks the breath out of you, too.

After that, the slow and melancholy ‘Fall’ makes sense. The instrumental wanders endlessly. Vocals blend in and blur the lines. The mural of emotion builds gradually before a sharp cut off. Even calmer and more controlled, ‘Coda’ touches on the cinematic qualities again. The vocals feel like an afterthought, a nice addition but not a necessity. Again, we’re shown a whole new way to look at music.

A different vibe creeps into ‘Graves’, appealing to The Hold Steady-esque characteristics. After the colourful tracks it follows, ‘Graves’ feels a little stagnant, but it’s the only dead space on the album. ‘Heading South’ moves the album back in the direction of heavy emotion, with gang vocals that are bound to cause a stir at live shows. The instrumental speaks for itself. The album’s title track wraps ‘Borders’ up, a happy after thought with an optimistic grimace.

I encourage, urge, implore you to listen to ‘Borders’. Climbing Trees boast a talent few are so lucky to have. The attention to detail makes every listen an adventure, with new highlights constantly emerging. They make instrumental rock at its finest.

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