Tallest Trees’ debut album is one of those slow-growers with staying power, due largely in part to its complexity. Carefully plotted intricacies and layers reveal themselves over time, providing a listening experience that builds upon itself.
Listen to “Alouette!” – DOWNLOAD MP3
At a bit over 45 minutes, The Ostrich Or The Lark is a fairly long disc. It begins with “Human Voice (Echo 1)”, a track textured by drawn-out keyboards and slightly building background progressions. Choir-like vocals chime in periodically, and the track is a perfect ambient introduction to the joyous fanfare of the subsequent track and album single, “Alouette!”. Although “Alouette!” isn’t the only potential single on the album, it’s easy to see why it was chosen. It encapsulates the energy and playfulness of Tallest Trees in one compact pop-length capsule — complete with toy pianos and fascinating lyrics, like, “When I was a boy/ I knew which trees were best for climbing/ I’d grab the tallest branch/ And then be frightened to look down.” The song feels like a opening call for adventure, and Tallest Trees deliver just that for the duration of the disc.
Using sequences of traditionally cheesy things like handclaps, call-and-response vocals, and canned synthesizer sounds, Tallest Trees manage to present all of these taboo objects in an acceptable light. An exploratory quality is captured in Tallest Trees’ music, each track feeling like an aural collage culled from a variety of colorful sources. Every track on this album has its gleaming moments, and at the forefront of it all is the band’s application of percussive qualities to just about everything. Not only are drums used to lay down beats, but samples and keyboards are sliced, diced, and syncopated to create complete tracks which revolve heavily around rhythm. The result is almost tribal — not in any traditional, visually evocative sense, but in a “feel the rhythm in your bones” kind of sense.
With The Ostrich Or The Lark, Tallest Trees have certainly crafted an ethereal disc — a complete flight of fancy, with very little grounding it. Spirited instrumentation jangling in every direction, upwards-soaring vocals, and lyrics declaring ambiguously meditative things like, “We are just an echo,” make the album feel heavily psychedelic both musically and in content matter. And psychedelic pop might have many contributors in this day and age, but Tallest Trees definitely capture the sincere spirit of it.