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Between The Trees - Spain Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8
Musicianship 7
Lyrics 5.75
Production 7.25
Creativity 5.5
Lasting Value 7
Reviewer Tilt 7.5
Final Verdict: 69%
Member Ratings
Vocals 7.95
Musicianship 7.28
Lyrics 6.73
Production 7.28
Creativity 6.7
Lasting Value 7.33
Reviewer Tilt 7.92
Average: 73%
Inside AP.net

Between The Trees - Spain

Reviewed by: Blake Solomon (08/15/09)
Between The TreesSpain
Record Label: Bonded Records
Release Date: August 11, 2009


The debate will rage forever: which is more important, those who did it first or those who do it better? Between The Trees haven’t pioneered anything on Spain. In fact, there are times when vocalist Ryan Kirkland sounds as if he’s stealing Jon Foreman’s whole shtick. But this is pop-rock for pop-rock junkies. Kids who pop Spain into the changer aren’t new to the genre, so they’re going to expect more substance. In this case its falsetto-led choruses (“Miss You”), piano rock (“Spain”) and wonderful harmonies (“We Can Try”). So yeah, you big grump, The Fray and Switchfoot and Jack’s Mannequin and Shoes for the Blind and Gas Attack all play this style of music. Between The Trees, though, do it better.

And better matters, at least to me. The times when I actually hear something original are few and far between. I don’t mean to sound depressed, especially since I’d argue that taking someone else’s formula and tweaking it into something better is one of the toughest things a creative person can do. What really works best for BTT, however, is Kirkland. He’s got swagger, but he doesn’t rule the instruments with an iron trachea. On “Move”, he clearly rules the verses, although the rising chorus is a successful experiment in sharing. The guitars and drums are let loose to chug in the lower registers while Kirkland and crew ascend to higher and higher notes. It’d be misleading to call Spain diverse, so instead I’ll say that the band made a conscious effort to mesh the genre’s most spine-tingling attributes. Speaking of, “Scarecrow” packs a surprising amount of emotion into its understated brilliance. Usually when pop bands do their record label-mandated “big ballad”, it comes off forced and trite. And yes, the song’s mantra of, “Maybe I wasn’t made for this world,” is boohoo-inducing for more than one reason, but still, relate we do. It also does well to build towards a lively climax rather than stagnating in mid-tempo muck. Fine, Between The Trees, you win. I’ll buy a t-shirt.

Spain is essentially what I wished Holiday Parade’s Tickets & Passports would sound like. It’s simple, pleasing and chorus-heavy. Kirkland’s fantastic range is typically the band’s focal point (listen to his vocal contortionism on “Gentleman” for proof), but at the same time, Josh Butler’s drums do just enough to remind us that pop-rock isn’t averse to interesting rhythms. And as much as I sort of hate myself for loving the vaguely Christian, piano-ballad stylings of closer “Changed By You,” I’m also elated at its composition. It still flows with the intrigue of their faster songs and the orchestral synthesizer is only allowed to accent the actual piano playing of Kirkland. There’s modesty all over Spain, which is refreshing because Between The Trees could have easily hidden any flaws by blowing by us with 10 mind-numbing rockers. Instead Spain shines due to the band’s balance of thoughtful songwriting and catchy choruses. Honestly, it’s very likely that there’s 30 bands out there right now trying to write a record like Spain. Let them try. Failure is good for young bands.


Recommended If You Like: Switchfoot, Holiday Parade, "he liked it?", Parachute, "he f**king loved it!"


Less of you is more than I can takewww.myspace.com/betweenthetrees
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 87
09:57 PM on 08/15/09
#2
Cue the Sun
I'm not sad anymore
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The singer reminds me of Stephen from Anberlin at times
10:06 PM on 08/15/09
#3
Jeff_Ryan
easy come and easy go, whatever
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this is NOT better than Jack's Mannequin
10:15 PM on 08/15/09
#4
Blake Solomon
Leave a one-way note.
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The singer reminds me of Stephen from Anberlin at times
yeah, i hear that, too
03:01 AM on 08/16/09
#5
introduction
You're not real musician!
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i agree that they do it better than most the other bands around. i can't agree with you saying that this is better than jack's though =/
06:51 AM on 08/16/09
#6
Chris Fallon
Boom.
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Certainly nothing special, but it's simple pop rock, and I was surprised at how much I actually have been enjoying this. Wasn't big on their last record, but I like how this one sounds. A few stale moments, but I think you hit this one on the head.
08:29 AM on 08/16/09
#7
Young Machetes
Wasteland Explorer
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Certainly nothing special, but it's simple pop rock, and I was surprised at how much I actually have been enjoying this. Wasn't big on their last record, but I like how this one sounds. A few stale moments, but I think you hit this one on the head.
That's the sentiment I shared. I didn't like their first album at all, but this album was very enjoyable. Nothing new at all, but I think they do it better than their contemporaries for the most part.
08:48 AM on 08/16/09
#8
Shakriel
I just need reassurance.
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Good review. I almost picked this up yesterday, but opted for some good used cds instead.
02:48 PM on 08/16/09
#9
Matthew Tsai
Born and raised
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this is NOT better than Jack's Mannequin
an incredible amount of music is far better than jack's generic-quin, and i would say this falls in the same category
06:40 PM on 08/16/09
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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I LOVE this record.
07:53 PM on 08/16/09
SexyJeff
Pfft. This Is Dildos
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I didn't even know this was already out. I shall have to pick it up this week because I loved their last cd after finding it in the dollar bin at my local record store.
06:50 AM on 08/17/09
roisterboy
roisterboy
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The singer reminds me of Stephen from Anberlin at times
I think the singer sounds like the guy from The Format.
07:44 AM on 08/17/09
loj
i'm not there and you're not here.
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agree with pretty much everything you said, although after reading your review i glanced over at the score and was shocked to see how low it was. not in a "i completely disagree!" kinda way, but in a "most reviews in the 60's on this site are 10x more negative" kinda way.

regardless, good review.
08:08 AM on 08/17/09
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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agree with pretty much everything you said, although after reading your review i glanced over at the score and was shocked to see how low it was. not in a "i completely disagree!" kinda way, but in a "most reviews in the 60's on this site are 10x more negative" kinda way.

regardless, good review.
I totally agree. The rating doesn't match the review. A rating of mid 70s probably matches.
But seeing as how the disc is not exactly treading new ground probably explains it. Still disappointed to see it graded so low. They deserve higher!
08:43 AM on 08/17/09
iam1bearcat
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this is NOT better than Jack's Mannequin

haha, that's exactly what i thought when i read that line in the review. i was like, "no fucking way!"
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