By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)
First impressions are important. From a job interview to a first date, nobody wants to make a total twat out of themselves and end up forever portraying themselves as an off-duty clown. But in the case of Wolverhampton alt/stone trio Treeherder, they’ve firmly shook your hand, asked how you are and got the first beers in with their debut album, A Shortcut to Mushrooms.
One of the biggest parts of this album is the power in the voice of guitarist-cum-vocalist Scott McNair. The power of someone’s vocals can make or break a band, and in Treeherder‘s case, the vocals help drive the power and aggression in their sound, perfectly synced in with drummer Jake Webb and bassist Neil Owens, creating a driving power trio.
The album is chock full of highlights, including tracks such as Lighthouse, Ents, Tightrope, God Save Us and Blue Eyes, pushing forwards raw emotion with a gritty, powerful edge. There’s even a cover of Reuben’s Cities on Fire, adding their own twist on the song without losing sight of the original.
Many love to sit on their gold thrones at the top of the ivory tower and complain that guitar music is slowly dying, but listening to this album proves that it’s still very much alive, with its heart beating stronger than ever. From back to front this is a consistently enjoyable album, without any filler material or weak points, it is a seriously good debut album.
Lyrically, the content of this album is fantastic. It can perfectly commentate on the pain of losing someone and the pitfalls that romance has to offer you. A standout line from the album is from the track, Tightrope, “I’m standing in the middle of your tightrope, and it’s held by both your hands“, which illustrates the uncertainty of putting your heart into someone else’s hands.
It’d be exceedingly unfair to go easy on a new band’s debut album to save them their blushes, but the praise of A Shortcut to Mushrooms is warranted, earnt and deserved. Managing to keep the sound fresh but familiar, this is an album you can pick up and listen to front to back, without even breaking a sweat.
More and more needs to be done to help fledgling bands find their feet, and this is one album that you should pick up, plug in, and enjoy it forwards, backwards, side-to-side, on the bus, on a cross-channel ferry, after a break up, during intercourse: just get some Treeherder in your life.
Buy A Short Cut to Mushrooms here. Do it. Now. You. Yes, you.