HGR CD Review: Treehouse

TREEHOUSE – SALT UPON THE STONES (no label) Centered in Williamsport but featuring musicians from throughout the Northeast, seven-piece ensemble Treehouse introduces a playful, freewheeling brand of music on their debut full-length studio album, Salt Upon the Stones. The brother and sister duo of bassist/percussionist Colin Dennen and keyboardist Michaela Dennen, plus the brother duo of bassist/percussionist Alex Hines and drummer Josh Hines all sing; accompanied by guitarists Jonah Walters and Evan Moffitt, and trumpet player/percussionist Jeff Mach. Through Salt Upon the Stones’ eight tracks, Treehouse crafts lively, unconventional melodies that combine elements of psychedelic-era Beatles folk and pop, inventive indie-flavored alternative rock, and worldbeat flourishes reminiscent of Paul Simon and Rusted Root. The music is no-holds-barred, and often veers off into unexpected tangents and side journeys, setting the foundation for Treehouse’s often happy, euphoric lyrics. The disc opener “Acorns” encourages listeners to take stock in the simple pleasures around them; “Selfish” celebrates the sights and sounds of a beachfront. “I Follow the Echo” provides an introspective look at following one’s muse, while “Carousel” celebrates the cycle of life. Treehouse varies between shorter and lengthier exercises, with the expansive nine-minute-plus epic “Animals” exploring human imperfection and frailty. The beauty of this CD is its unpredictability, as Treehouse gearshifts between odd time signatures and tempos, bursts of percussion and brass passages, multiple vocal harmonies and more. The performances are bright and enthusiastic, and the overall vibe of the album is that of a band having fun in the moment, frolicking with their instruments and letting the muse carry them. The result is a vibrant, enjoyable, and fresh listen. Treehouse tosses out the rulebook and conjures a musical adventure on Salt Upon the Stones that is innovative, captivating and pleasant. (The CD can be obtained through Treehouse’s website, www.treehousemusics.com.)