by Jeff Milo
Like buried circuits buzzing underneath the streets....
Hand In The Ocean release Tree/Forts - 6/15 on Timber Records
with: Flint Eastwood / Gun Lake / Greater Alexander - at the Berkley Front (3087 W. 12 Mile rd.)
Three men, one acoustic guitar, one banjo...
It's clear from the outset of Tree/Forts that the three musicians who have their hands in this ocean are submerged into a more atmospheric brand of folk - when your opening is a 3-and-a-half lucid-dream drifter of a whispered poem over found-sounds like gravel and woodchips crinkled under traipsed feet, curtained with a meandering guitar wafting like fading fog...only to rustle forth into a livelier, nearly-6-minute proper kick-off ballad, exorcising a knottier ring of emotions through poetic, plaintive lyrics that still sound sutured in a half-dream-state, weaving through intricate, eager, and sometimes unpredictable arrangements of guitar and banjo.
Splendid and stark and stirring the emotions...Insistent to subtly dress (or haunt) the backgrounds of their songs with ambient noises, like there's someone busy with some chore in the cabin's adjacent room. Campfire balladry for a post-everything generation, stoked and crackling right here in Michigan. Thick hazes of harmony with a fragile lead warbler hovering, this barbed pedal plucked and pulled away with the wind of those sweet guitar strums, the rhythmic chords under discreetly dancing banjo. Such warm timbres and ruminative rustlings - it affects that dirt-smudged, barefooted cabin-dwelling mystique, (inevitably)...flumes of woodsmoke stinging the nostrils as a universe of indistinguishably numerous insects buzz quietly below and just beyond your window-sill while a melancholic willow is backlist by a brilliant setting sun.
Let's go up north!
But not until we watch this video... Where our local folk trio serenades the graffiti-flecked neglected remains of the Belle Isle Zoo.