Monday 26 November 2012

The Smoking Trees - Acetates

Album review by KevW

The Smoking Trees are a duo from California, and they would like to take you on a trip. One of those 60s-type acid trips that involve drugs, hallucinations and weird and wonderful sounds. They've chosen to do this by making a 21 track album; so essentially they've made a double album, but as we live in the digital age there are no gaps to flip the record over, or pauses to put disc 2 on. Nope, on 'Acetates' they're expecting you to be in for the long haul, probably a bit much to ask for most music fans who don't have a spare afternoon to kill. In fact, if you buy the special edition CD you get a bonus disc of demos too. Time to stock up on the snacks, load up the bong and cancel and meetings you may have had planned for a while. Get comfy, this could take a while, but it might just be worth it.

The cliched but correct rule of thumb is that there are virtually no double albums that wouldn't have been improved had they been condensed down to a single offering instead. Yeah, 'The White Album' is great, but take out some of the nonsense bits and it could have been even better. Same situation here. The Smoking Trees have some truly fantastic songs, and here's our handy list of the best for anyone who finds the thought of investing in a 21 track album a bit much. The driving 'See', the awesome 60s jangle of 'Merry Go Maggie', the sitar utilising 'Changes In Perception', the pure retro sounds of 'Calling', the cosmic wavering of 'In Another Land', the even more cosmic 'Eyes Closed', the poppy 'On An Afternoon', the strummed 'Every Little Thing', the effects heavy 'Nowhere Land' and the funky and expansive 'Stay For The Night'. There's a handy ten for anyone with shorted attention spans/a busy lifestyle.

The rest will be subject to personal opinions, as indeed is the whole thing; some of it is weird, some of it perplexing and some songs seems totally pointless, yet somehow it remains cohesive. Just. The Smoking Trees can make some amazing music and their pastiches are knowing but rarely kitsch or mickey-taking. They even throw in a backwards track for people who like hidden messages in their music. 'Acetates' is a trip and it's a thoroughly enjoyable one, even though one or two stops are unnecessary, so the old adage about double albums being better if they were single albums rings true. Still, at least you get your money's worth, and if you do have a day to spare and anything that's likely to "expand your mind" then you'll find the perfect soundtrack to your experience right here. Enjoy this trip, and it is a trip.

The Smoking Trees' website

Stream or buy the album

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