Black Twig – Paper Trees

Rating: ★★★½ ·

It’s clear from the recent rise in Finnish music trickling overseas that there’s quite a bit of great music being created in the country; Black Twig is another act determined to share their creativity with the world.  Paper Trees is their first proper album for the newly created Soliti Music, and while the label may be small, they’ve got some huge sounds to promote.

There’s definitely a diverse sound when you take your first trip through Paper Trees. For me, the biggest standout track was “Death Scene,” the albums fourth track.  It’s got a certain earnestness to fit as much as possible into the song, not unlike recent releases from Cloud Nothings.  Yet, you’ll find one large unifying force lurking in this song, and the album itself; the pleasant vocals help maintain a perfect sense of pop sensibility.

Going back to the beginning, you’ll realize that this seemingly effortless bit of cool was present all along.  Album opener “Four Notes” has a decently jangling guitar line, but the breathy vocals keep the song steadying in the waters of traditional pop tunes. But, just as you think the band’s settled into traditionalism, they warp up the song with squalls of feedback and noise, though not in an overbearing sense.  Such touches are present off and on throughout Paper Trees, demonstrating that Black Twig are definitely working out their sound. And in playing with such sounds, you end up with experimental tracks that seemingly come out of nowhere.

“Kouvala (Slow)” is one such track; it’s a sprawling piece of post rock stretching over seven minutes long.  Vocals on this track are practically non-existent, but the restraint the band displays in the songs construction perfectly displays their supposed intentions, leaving listeners with a taste that is more than just your average pop record.  It’s also indicative of the second-half of the record, which seems to hold a dark, nosier side of things in place. You’ll just have to listen to album closer “Antichrist” to see that the band can sufficiently produce edgier moments with chords knifing in and out of atmospheric negative space.  It will also leave you with the feeling that Robert Pollard just wrote a four minute track, as the vocal stylings and mixture of noise and traditional pop fare both lean towards the aforementioned musician’s work.

Paper Trees seemingly goes all over the place, from screeching post-rock to quieter moments of blissful pop, and yet it’s tied together so well that you’ll hardly notice the change in mood from one point to another.  Black Twig surely are a potent songwriting force; it’s clear in the way the songs are written, and the way the record plays out: you’ll find yourself jamming to this one over and over again, grateful that Finland is finally making its musical mark abroad.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/04-Death-Scene.mp3]

Download: Black Twig – Death Scene [MP3]

New Rocker from Black Twig

There’s not a hotter label in my mind right now than Soliti Music, and the killer label has been generous enough to share us this incredible new track from Black Twig.  The group will be releasing their album Paper Trees via the label on January 11th, and as of right now, this is one of my most anticipated records for 2012.  In this newest single you’ll find jagged guitars jangling, but it’s the vocal that really grips you; it’s calming, which juxtaposes the furiously beautiful noise that bounces through the rest of the song.  If you’ve heard anything better this week than this track, then give me a heads up, as I don’t think you will.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/04-Death-Scene.mp3]

Download: Black Twig – Death Scene [MP3]

New Music from Black Twig

I’ve been keeping my eye on Soliti Music, the label that released the Big Wave Riders EP earlier this year.  Just the other day they unleashed this excellent gem from Black Twig.  The group is gearing up for a January release of their album, Paper Trees, and I’ve been pretty impressed with what I’ve heard so far. It reminds me a lot of The Mary Onettes, but just a touch more fog coating the music, yet still maintaining that pop sensibility I adore.  If you’re into that sort of shoegaze pop track, you’re going to really enjoy jamming out to this number all day long.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Lake_Song.mp3]

Download: Black Twig – Lake Song [MP3]