(Roll Call Records/EMI)
After nearly growing apart, Scattered Trees have resurfaced with Sympathy, giving us a collection of songs that are heavily wrought with grief, raw emotion and melancholy. Written by lead singer Nate Eiesland after his father passed away, this full-length album pulls from his personal dealings with disbelief, shock and the things that never remain quite the same. The album is a result of him putting his memories, uncertainties and angst to music.
While “Bury the Floors” instantly sinks you into the hollowness that the mourning of a death experiences, “A Conversation About Death on New Year’s Eve” is the real core of this album. The song haunts and can be appreciated for its musical intensity and catchy hook: “Now I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
“Love and Leave” has excellent vocal delivery and is more reflective, nudging the album into a more rock-oriented sound, while “Four Days Straight” is a catchy rock anthem with its hooky bass line— the kind of song that is bound to snag airplay on the radio. “Sympathy” is light-hearted and suggests some healing in the narrative of the album.
“Five Minutes” and “Where You Came From” are more acoustic and pick up from the lighter, more absolving lyrics and alternative/indie sound of “Sympathy.” “I Swear to God,” a pleasant surprise on the album, is beautiful, ironic and wrestles the writer’s faith with its hook, “Please do not destroy us, I believe in you I swear to God/Where are you Jesus? Where are you?” The album winds down with the harmonized “On your Side,” exposing us to the struggle of having to deal with such sudden change.
Scattered Trees have myriad shades in their sound and that makes it hard to fit them into one particular genre. The album overall is easy listening and the core of the album lies in the first half. With this combination of lyric, heart and soul, these guys aren’t going anywhere!
Also, “A Conversation” is available free for download currently on the band’s website. Be sure to give it a listen!