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And Also The Trees

Shaletown: Articles - 1991

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             True Gothic                  
Alternative Press Vol. 38


              And Also The Trees hail from the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire, a town close to Stratford-Upon -Avon, the original providence of William Shakespeare.  Their music conjures visions of the English  countryside, rich in culture and reflective of their surroundings. Their moody atmospheric songs have  been misconstrued as "gothic". The Trees create a contemporary lattice that generates the grace of English literary masters like Keats, Shelley, and Byron; not the typical Batcave denizens the g-word pigeon-holes.

                " A lot of the press in England is somewhat unintelligent," explains Simon Huw Jones, the Trees vocalist / lyricist. "It's obvious that they don't listen to the record and they have a preconceived idea of what we are about. The funny thing is that if there was ever a band that was 'gothic' in the literary sense, then we are."
    Simon's guitarist brother Justin agrees: " That was something that was written about us to our advantage. It's been pointed out that we're not a Batcave thing but a true gothic."

          And Also The Trees started in the early 80's while most of its members were still in their early  teens.The Jones brothers, drummer Nick Havas, and bassist Steven Burrows released their self-titled debut album in 1984, produced by then Cure member Lol Tolhurst. Robert Smith was so enamored  of the band that he invited them to open for the Cure's 1981 UK tour. Both brothers admit that it was a double-edged scythe.

      "It started out as great encouragement," says Simon. " If it wasn't for them we probably wouldn't have  had the desire to continue, because we weren't getting much. It turned out to be a curse when people  were just writing us off as Cure clones which was pretty unintelligent."

         " From that point of view it was understandable, " offers Justin. " At the time we were about 15 to 16  years old so we had no fucking idea what was going on in the music world. We just had the luck of the connection. It was weird; we'd be playing in London to several  thousand people and the next day we'd be in school doing geography!"

          And Also The Trees have only released four albums in their ten year existence save for one live album and a retrospective compilation. The time between records (for example, close to two and a half years passed between the first and second albums) gives the band the ability to re-examine and re-charge the  creative muse.

   " We practically have our teenage and adolescent years documented on record because as we have changed as people you can see it on the records, " says Simon.

          "Let's face it. When you make your first record, you draw from experiences from when you were born to the time you make the record. We've been in a fortunate position of being on a small label so we can  determine when we have enough material for an LP. There isn't a lot of pressure that a big label would  demand for a follow-up immediately. That's when bands re-hash their original ideas and create filler. "

            On their latest Storm front release, FAREWELL TO THE SHADE, the Trees convey their literary  learnings with a lush cover of Cat Stevens' "Lady D'Arbanville" and more obvious moments like "Macbeth's Head." Onstage, Simon's dramatic presence delivering the songs has been regarded by both supporters and detractors as painstakingly honest.

          "From my point of view as the singer, I feel like I want to give absolutely everything that I can give  when I'm singing. I try to recreate the emotions I originally had when I first wrote the lyrics. It's an  emotional experience that I try to reach because I feel it's honest to the music. "

             The band has finished a short American tour in support of SHADE and is currently working on the next album, no doubt fueled by the experiences a rural based English band might have on their first tour of America.

     " I think the other night summed it up for an extreme example, " muses Justin. " Just playing in the Limelight (a swank New York City club), which used to be a church.There's this really slick nightclub in an old church and we're playing on the altar. The whole idea sounds
like society turned on its head."


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