I’ve struggled to sleep. The itchy throat that I’ve been ignoring for the past couple of days appears to be turning into a cold. Blocked sinuses have kept me awake during those hours when everybody else sleeps.
To pass the time, I’ve been listening to my advance copy of Palamino, the new album from Treetop Flyers that’s coming out on March 11th. It’s a fine record to listen to in these witching hours. It even has a track called ‘Sleepless Nights’.
This is a dense album that you’re able to get pretty lost in. With many of the tracks clocking in at over six minutes, it’s full to the brim with crisp guitar playing, keyboard shuffles and soulful, melancholic harmonies. There’s definite influence drawn from the late 1960’s west coast rock pop scene but rather than just breeze along, we also get slabs of prog and stabs of jazz. Here’s a band that are almost spinning right out of control.
Lyrically, much of ‘Palamino’ is about change, transition and fighting against the tough stuff of life. “Save me from this shipwreck”, sings Sam Beer, in a collaborative effort, replacing lead singer, Reid Morrison, on ‘Lady Luck’. “At the helm, the wheel is spinning“, he announces from the edge of the precipice a bit later in that song.
The boat imagery continues in the centrepiece of the record ‘St. Andrews Cross’. Things are ‘soon to capsize’ we are told as acoustic guitars and harmonies with a gospel twinge directly deal with the impending loss of somebody near and dear. “I would give everything if I could change anything” is a line that jumps to the fore.
I’d hate to give the impression that this is all ‘woe is me’ though. Treetop Flyers might have never been as hard on themselves as they are right now yet it’s an album with ultimately positive intent. You sense, within little refrains, that they’re beginning to emerge from their troubles to a firmer place. And nowhere is this more evident than in the uplifting, closing track, ‘Wild Winds’. This is that moment in any emotional wringer of a film when night becomes day, when the storm clouds depart and the blue skies appear.
Outside, I can hear the early morning rumblings of another day beginning across the city. I might doze back to sleep.