Review: Treetop Flyers – Palomino

It’s hard to believe that it is almost five years since Treetop Flyers received Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition, after having contributed to the revival of folk for the first time with their well-received debut single, ‘To Bury the Past’. As a band that would go on to garner a hoard of dedicated fans following the release of their debut album, The Mountain Moves, in 2013, the group of five London-based chaps did very well indeed upon their entrance in to the often selective world of alternative music. Three years on, they’ve returned to bestow a new gift upon enthusiastic fans: the release of their highly anticipated second album, Palomino.

A collaboration of musical influences, including blues, Americana country and classic rock, Palomino promises to give the mundanity of modern folk the shot in the arm it needs.

Having released their initial album four years after their debut single was released, the band are well-known, and indeed credited for, their ability to resist the urge to put out new material. Doubtlessly, their second album illustrates their capacity for observing their own work as much, if not more, than the first album does. Whilst the lengthy production time of both albums consisted of the band working cohesively to perfect their work, the making of the second album was preceded by an extremely difficult period for each of the band members.

Tragically, the high-note of receiving critical acclaim for The Mountain Moves was followed by an experience of loss, bereavement and anxiety, that was inflicted on each band member in different ways. Upon their return to music, the members set to tackle their personal trauma collectively, proving that music is a cathartic experience not only for the listener, but for the artist as well. Lead guitarist, Reid Morrison confirmed this, when he asserted that: “Coming together to make this record was very therapeutic for us, in a sense. It brought us closer and allowed us to let go of a lot of the bullshit that we’d had to endure and negotiate in the past.”

This sentiment is prevalent throughout the album, and is craftily expressed through a variety of styles. In particular, the range of musical styles is noticeable at the beginning of the album, where the influence of country rock that manifests itself in the first two tracks ‘You, Darling, You’ and ‘Sleepless Nights’, bares significant contrast to the heavily blues-inspired reflective piece, ‘Lady Luck’.

In spite of its reflective tenor, many tracks are underpinned with a juxtaposition of enlivening sound and sober content, notably discernible in later tracks such as ‘It’s A Shame’ and ‘Dance Through the Night’.

Although enigmatic, the upbeat auditory motif of the album invites the listener to reflect upon the many experiences of life in a variety of moods. Such a depiction of issues like loss and bereavement reflects well on the ethos of the band, which illuminates their ability to convey the myriad of responses to trauma through creating a varied collection of songs.

A successful attempt to fuse together some of the greatest genres of the 20th century, Palomino signifies the return of friendship and union as the governing power of folk. At this present moment in music, as the insatiable hunger of the mainstream is beginning to consume this seminal genre, this is exactly what folk needs.

Beth Andralojc

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