Tallest Trees – The Ostrich Or The Lark Album Review

Sometimes, the albums which make indelible marks on your memory are the slow-growers. Perhaps it’s been an eternity, and you still don’t know what your opinion is about said albums, but one day — it just all clicks. And when you finally “get” it, it sticks with you. You begin to wonder why it took you so long to appreciate such a mysteriously captivating record in the first place, and subsequent listens are evidence that the record has staying power.

Tallest Trees’ debut album is one of those slow-growers with staying power, due largely in part to its complexity. Carefully plotted intricacies and layers reveal themselves over time, providing a listening experience that builds upon itself.

 

Listen to “Alouette!” – DOWNLOAD MP3

At a bit over 45 minutes, The Ostrich Or The Lark is a fairly long disc. It begins with “Human Voice (Echo 1)”, a track textured by drawn-out keyboards and slightly building background progressions. Choir-like vocals chime in periodically, and the track is a perfect ambient introduction to the joyous fanfare of the subsequent track and album single, “Alouette!”. Although “Alouette!” isn’t the only potential single on the album, it’s easy to see why it was chosen. It encapsulates the energy and playfulness of Tallest Trees in one compact pop-length capsule — complete with toy pianos and fascinating lyrics, like, “When I was a boy/ I knew which trees were best for climbing/ I’d grab the tallest branch/ And then be frightened to look down.” The song feels like a opening call for adventure, and Tallest Trees deliver just that for the duration of the disc.

Using sequences of traditionally cheesy things like handclaps, call-and-response vocals, and canned synthesizer sounds, Tallest Trees manage to present all of these taboo objects in an acceptable light. An exploratory quality is captured in Tallest Trees’ music, each track feeling like an aural collage culled from a variety of colorful sources. Every track on this album has its gleaming moments, and at the forefront of it all is the band’s application of percussive qualities to just about everything. Not only are drums used to lay down beats, but samples and keyboards are sliced, diced, and syncopated to create complete tracks which revolve heavily around rhythm. The result is almost tribal — not in any traditional, visually evocative sense, but in a “feel the rhythm in your bones” kind of sense.

With The Ostrich Or The Lark, Tallest Trees have certainly crafted an ethereal disc — a complete flight of fancy, with very little grounding it. Spirited instrumentation jangling in every direction, upwards-soaring vocals, and lyrics declaring ambiguously meditative things like, “We are just an echo,” make the album feel heavily psychedelic both musically and in content matter. And psychedelic pop might have many contributors in this day and age, but Tallest Trees definitely capture the sincere spirit of it.

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Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/she) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

In 2017, Vee released the narrative short film, Searching Skies — which touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States — and co-organized The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. 2022 sees the release of their next short film, Reckless Spirits, which is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature film.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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Written by Vee Hua 華婷婷
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