Posted by Dan
Progress Has No Patience
Posted by Dan
You know a band is inclined to eclecticism when they begin as guitarless. Starting out in some corner of the West Midlands, The Dreaimg Tree have built upon a sound that is sophisticated and quirky in equal measures.
Its not often I find myself agreeing with the hyperbole that tends to leap off the pages of the promotional blurb that invariably acompanies a new release, however in this case I’ll’ make an execption.
“The Dreaming Tree strives to stamp their unique atyle on the listening public. Likened to such diverse artists as Steely Dan, Spocks Beard, Alan Parsons Project and Dream Theatre, the result is a truly varied collection that refuses to be tied to any one genre”.
I couldnt have put it better myself. Well, maybe I could because I’d have added a number of other artists who come to mind at various junctures. In many ways I am reminded of the ethos of 10CC, one of the first bands I fell in love with. They had the uncanny knack of surprising you with their eclectic mix of Pop, prog and almost anything you care to mention. They also had a great sense of humour, which TDT also seem to enjoy. They may not sound just like 10CC, but they have that certain quality to produce great songs in a variety of styles. At times I hear nuances of the New Romantic genre as well as West Coast and it all makes for a very pleasing collection indeed.
The album opens with ‘Silence Wont Steal’ which has nice Neo Prog sentiments that harks at Jadis. There’s a nice switch of style that heralds the guitar solo before another change suddenly gives us a Jamie Cullum style vocal section. It may sound strange, but it really works. ‘Arcadia’ opens with Dream Theatre/ Black Sabbath-lite riff which is joined by a really dirty Hammond Organ sound a la Beardfish/ Deep Purple. When the vocals arrive I’m reminded of Nik Kershaw, whilst there’s a fine synth solo.
‘Grown Too Small’ is a fabulous track. It opens with a piano refrain that could be lifted from a Billy Joel song, albeit with a hint of Randy Newman. When the song gets going I am immediately put in mind of Venice and their beautiful West Coast vibe. The harmonies are glorious, the chorus immediately memorable making a song of great class.
‘Love And The Heart’ maintains the feel of the previous tune, for a while, with its lovely melody and very strong chorus. Just when you think its settled into a groove they throw in a funky electric piano break. The arrangement of the following track ‘Moult’ is top class. Again, it starts slowly with a pleasant swagger and yet more delicious harmonies. A Dave Gilmour (Pink Floyd) solo is a delight and this leads to an increase in tempo and an extended instrumental passage that injects a wonderful urgency into the proceedings building to a big finish.
‘Ophidia’ Opens with some lovely Hammond and a simple but great guitar riff that morphs into a song that has a huge Rush vibe, although with a Prog edge and another Floyd-ian solo. The chorus is absolutely terrific and has stuck in my head. ‘Slender Versions Of The Truth’ is another magnificent composition that I am struggling to review in a way that won’t put people off because my thoughts are towards some bands that wouldn’t ordinarily feature in this magazine, but you will have to trust me. References to Spock’s Beard, The Flower Kings and Kaipa arise after the Hard Rock riff that quickly changes groove into neo-prog territory. I can hear the influence of producer Karl Groom (Threshold) on the guitars. Beardfish comes to mind again when the song bursts out of its shell and that Hammond does a splendid job of ramping up the power.
‘Tide And The Mast’ is a short number with a 60′s feel. I cant say I like the vocal arrangement where words are elongated and make it sound as if they ran out of ideas for lyrics. ‘Whisper Song’ takes the pace down and it flows in fine style. Just to confound us further they warp up proceedings with a really laid back soft jazz number in the form of ‘The Only Truth’ where the piano playing is wonderful.
Sure, this is an eclectic mix but it is a very enjoyable collection of songs that keeps your interest throughout. I’m very impressed.
The Dreaming Tree’s second album, “Progress Has No Patience” carries on in much the same vein as their debut did. The band play neo prog in a similar vein to Spock’s Beard. And in common with the Beard, they aren’t afraid to switch styles and try something new.
The album kicks off with “Silence Wont Steal”, one of the better tracks on the album. The songs seem a bit more up tempo than on the debut, which I found rather soporific. They are still laid back, but this time around the dynamics and intricacy of the material holds the attention alot more. The guitar work of Dan Jones is fantastic throughout: he alternatively sounds like Dave Gilmore and Steve Hackett. Steve Barratts keyboards also deserve a mention: they are nicely understated most of the time but when the do shine, they shone very brightly.
“Love & The Heart” takes the band in to Alan Parsons territory, and features some great instrumental passages. Ophidia is another highlight one of the longer tracks on the album and again it allows the band to show off their technical prowess.
This is a very good album, miles ahead of their debut, and defiantly recommended for any fans of modern prog and/ or Spock’s Beard.
Power Points: 8/10
The Classic Rock Society Magazine Issue 177 April/ May 2010 : Progress Has No Patience.
“The first reaction on hearing this album is “WOW”. For their second full length album, the band have chosen to record at Thin Ice studio with Threshold’s Karl Groom at the helm, and the huge leap in recording and sound quality – particularly the drum sound – suggests that it has been worth every penny. Indeed, many bands could take inspiration from this. This is the real deal, and it sounds like it.
Musically too, this is very much a progression from their eclectic – perhaps too much so – debut. Indeed, if the album has a fault it is that, once again, its influences are so broad at times I was left a touch bewildered. Specifically, the band strays into sub-Steely Dan jazz pop just a touch too often for comfort. However, in other areas they are really beginning to deliver, particularly on the superb hard rock with a twist album opener “Silence Wont Steal”, and on tracks like “Ophidia”, with its quirky time signature, they show us that they can bring in a prog influence without descending into cliche, a fine trick if you can pull it off, and the Dreaming Tree can.
It is in the area of inventive hard rock that the band are most impressive, especially as in the same way that they avoid prog cliches, metal ones are kept at bay too. Just when a song lulls you into a comfort zone, it throws you a curve, thanks to clever arrangements and varied instrumentation, especially from guitarist Dan Jones and keyboard player Steve Barratt, and if the material is still not quite as consistent as it might be, there is enough of interest to make repeated listens a pleasure. Stephen Lambe”
The Classic Rock Society Magazine Issue 170 Feb March 09: The Dreaming Tree Unplugged One – How to sound good naked.
“So here’s the problem, how to get a great bunch of musicians and their music out to, not only the mainstream, but also to those readers of this magazine that stick their heads in the sand and only have time for the obvious one or two bands.
This bunch of lads are a talented bunch with unlimited enthusiasm and to release an acoustic set of songs while not being established is not only brave, its cleaver too. In short these lads offer you eleven good songs in a nice and simple way. I don’t believe they were naked when they recorded this. AE”
Poweplay magazine Issue 150 December/ January 08/09: The Dreaming Tree “Grafting Lines & Spreading Rumours”
“The first full length album from Wolverhampton’s The Dreaming Tree is an interesting affair. They play progressive rock, very much in the neo-progressive mould of such bands as The Gift or Product. They concentrate on songs rather than going for twenty minute prog epics, although they do occasionally get close to the ten-minute mark.
There are a variety of influences on show,from the reggae tinged “The Changeling” tot he laid back almost lounge style intro of “(The Roads Down Which Our) Dreams and Shadows Drive.” This is certainly not a band that is scared of trying something different. For my money it is the longer songs that work best, particularly “Static” where the band draw things out a little and get, almost, into Dream Theatre Territory. This track also allows guitarist Dan Jones to do his impression of David Gilmour on the intro, and very good it is too.
For the most part. this album is a pretty mellow affair, in fact I couldn’t help wishing they’d get going a bit, have a couple of double espressos before going into the studio, that kind of thing. But no, they appear to be strictly decaf.
Power points: 123456
| Progression magazine Issue 53 Spring 2008 printed in the USA by John Colligne . The Dreaming Tree Grafting Lines & Spreading Rumours.
Sound: **** Composition :*** Musicianship: *** Performance: **** Total rating: 14
“This British outfit essentially is an alternative-flavored rock band with progressive tendencies. The emphasis isn’t so much on extensive solos or thematic movements as about inserting a subtle meter change or production flourish within the context of a song.
Take the lead track “Ring”, for example. The song kicks things off with a driving beat supported by strong choral hooks and tasteful piano – nothing too challenging. “Changeling” follows with a brisk reggae like pace that establishes a different angle once again. Other standout moments include the intricate syncopation, dramatic vocals and layered guitars of “Ashes”, the superb vocal harmonies in “The Best Kind Of (The Alcohol Song),” and the mellow/jazzy vibe of “Dreams and Shadows”.
The fellows in The Dreaming Tree truly have adopted the ethic of checking one’s ego at the door and, consequently, really function well as a unit. – Eric Harabadian”
Progress Has No Patience Reviews:
Grafting Lines & Spreading Rumours Reviews: