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Leaves Off Trees – Song For A New Beginning

Before The Review: An apology. See, my cousin’s boyfriend is in this band, and they passed me the CD at a family gathering last July. Yes, that was 6 months ago. Now, it is true that things were very disorganized for us at that time as we had just moved into a new house in June, so everything was everywhere, for a while. But I listen to music all the time, so that’s not much of an excuse. True, I only slapped up 2 posts in the month of July, 2013 (my review of Black Sabbath’s ’13,’ which became my Album Of The Year for 2013, and a notice that J.J. Cale had died), which might be a fair indication that things were fairly busy around here, but even that seems weak.  Sorry to Leaves Off Trees, this post has been a long time coming. Whatever the reason. But I do make good on my promises, despite how long it may take me…

And now, the record!

Album opener You, Impossible is an excellent stomper. I love Rod Smith’s raspy vocals. The sax intro is also cool. Something Like Free is a huge rocker that swings. That drummer is a busy man, and the sax solo kills. The breakdown sounds almost like a Stones song… that’s a good thing! The album title track is a classy, acoustic/piano-driven affair. And it’s around this point that I realize what bands were coming to me as to what this band sounds like. And I hate doing that, because if I say “oh they sound like so-and-so, then that’s what you think of them even if you haven’t heard them, which isn’t fair because it’s better if you make up your own damn mind. Still it’s a bit of a compliment to the band because what came to mind were great bands whom I love, and I do think there’s elements of the Skydiggers, Spirit Of The West, Wilco and the Stones here. Among others. So there you go.

Annie Somehow carries the pace of its predecessor but adds drums and a bigger sound. Such a beautiful tune that I could totally hear John K. Samson singing, if it wasn’t perfect with Smith handling duties. Man, I’m only four songs into this thing and already it’s one of the coolest things I’ve heard in ages. And I’m not just saying that because this is for family and I met the singer one time. No, this is really, really good.

I Am The One is a great song about relationships, even if things didn’t quite work out. Its riff is simple, yet perfectly evocative of the song’s content. I like the sax solo leading to a drum breakdown. I’ll bet that that part achieves lift-off during a live show. Next up is Here, a strummy acoustic tune that eases up the pace nicely at first, before finding its rollicking pace. Corners tinkers around instrumentally on an electric guitar, for about a minute. Is the album itself about to turn a corner? Let’s find out!

Poet’s Pen is a wild swirl of energy, tempered in the verses, taking off in the chorus bits. The vocals through the changes remain a growl, which at first I wasn’t sure quite worked, but on second play I realize it’s on purpose. Very cool. Now I can’t hear it any other way. Homesick Angel is a smart country-ish acoustic track, with lots of piano too, and an electric guitar that sings along here and there. Excellent harmony vocals here (as throughout, I should have been mentioning that. There’s just so much going on in these tunes, the ear gets drawn one way then another…). All This Time has a tricky guitar part, great picking. It’s ultimately a love song, but a restless one, restless with the pent-up energy of waiting.

Moment In April picks up the pace again, swinging along happily with lots of cymbal crashes and a happy beat. The sax is all over this one, too, and it’s lovely. Could I be forgiven for thinking that this is the perfect album closer track, is it fades out? And then consider the beautiful piano ballad What She Can’t Forgive a bonus track? Could just be me. Whatever, here it is and it’s great. So great.

What a record.

All told? This is a mature and fantastic effort from a band that should be huge. I loved it. Two KMA thumbs way, way up. Actually, I’m not certain my words have done it justice, so I can only hope that they pique your curiosity enough to get you out there to find your own copy. Take my word for it – you need this album.  My regret now is that I left off reviewing this for so long. I could have been listening to this for months!

Find them on Facebook and get yours. Get up to the Soo and see them live, if you can. Tell everyone you know. Go, go, go!

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