|The Dreaming Tree - 'Progress Has No Patience' (Bombsite Productions/Believe SAS)|
|Written by Russ P|
|Tuesday, 18 May 2010 06:00|
The Dreaming Tree are a progressive pop rock band who met while attending a sound engineering course. 'Progress Has No Patience' is the third full length release from the band and was recorded at the band's self-built studio and, judging from the result, those engineering lessons really paid off.
Ah, straightaway from the off, the It Bites and Yes influences abound. Guitarist Dan Jones' sound is tight and tonally very much like Francis Dunnery's. His solo on 'Silence Won't Steal' is crisp and bluesy and the drums and bass count out an off-beat counterpoint. Chris Buckler's vocals account for much of the band's pop sound and he reminds me of Utopia's Kasim Sulton. 'Arcadia' follows in the progressive rock vein but doesn't start off too promisingly with the band and especially the vocals suffering painfully from a lack of harmonic counterpoint as everyone starts riffing on the same theme. But the song gets back to its feet letting the riffing deep organ grind along with the guitars with leads into an Egyptian solo section complete with Moog solo.
'Grown Too Small' starts off as a light and airy acoustic lounge number with a decent jazz blues piano intro. It's here that the progressive trappings start to fall away and the band starts to sound more and more pop. The song climbs into a Charleston swing and the piano takes the solo before being taken over by Jones' authentic sounding jazz guitar solo. By the fourth track 'Love and the Heart' the band are sounding more like Spandau Ballet with a bit of Aztec Camera thrown in for good measure. The track shifts through half time and a bright funky jam, which I would've liked to have heard more of. Still, less is more.
'Moult' is buoyed and sustained by a cool sounding bass riff and subtly played drums with shimmering cymbal work. Reminds me of early Marillion in temperament. Altogether the most successful track by my reckoning. Sounds fantastic. Luckily for me I can enjoy it to the full as it's the longest track on the album at a whisker less than nine minutes. 'Ophidia', is another long track, and it opens in typical Tolkien-esque parallel universe prog fashion with long sustained chords and drums trickling like waterfalls down the toms and over the top of a verdant synth arpeggio. This one goes all out prog throwing in early snares and as many time changes as costume changes at a Lady Ga Ga concert. All a bit too much for me I'm afraid.
'Slender Versions Of The Truth' is another jazzy lounge piece, which is preceded by an out of character and inexplicable grandiose intro, which does little to set the scene for the song that follows. 'You The One' with its upfront guitar gives a slight nod in the direction of It Bites and 'Screaming On The Beaches' with its clean and crunchy staccato guitar lines. The mood is dreamy and ethereal yet also somewhat downbeat until it picks up pace in the second half and we hear Chris Buckler getting as near as he'll ever get to a growl.
'Tide And The Mast' is a whistle stop tour of near South African guitar stylings, Supertramp and folksy sea shanty, all wrapped up before the minute hand strikes two. For all that it's a bumpy and disorientating musical journey from which I'm glad to be delivered to the final two tracks, which are both strong. 'Whisper Song' gives me fond memories of the James Grant fronted band Love And Money. 'The Only Truth' hints at the band and sound that I'd personally like to hear more of. Less of the angular progressive rock, and more of the atmospheric jazz leanings. I can imagine Clark Datchler from Johnny Hates Jazz singing this.
Which reminds me. Johnny Hates Jazz are reforming this year. Any Über Röckers out there interested? This will surely put the mockers on Johnny H's proposed upcoming jazz project Johnny H Jazz.