On Saturday, July 30, Scattered Trees will be in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood at the Sunset Tavern with The Alternative Routes. This show will mark the band’s first US tour. On August 13, they will include a stop at Local 506 in Chapel Hill, N.C. The band will perform tracks from their latest critically-acclaimed album Sympathy. The physical release of the record will be available on August 9 via Roll Call Record/EMI.
Sympathy is a personal ode from lead singer, Nate Eiseland, to his late father who passed away over a year ago. After the release of their Hearts on Glass EP in 2007, the band officially broke up. But it was not until after the passing of his father that Eiseland started penning the joyous and spiritual lyrics of Sympathy. This ultimately reunited the band again. Sympathy is a well-crafted record that primarily laments on tragedy, given the circumstances and subject matter. But the album also balances the gracefulness of remembrance and the emotion that is involved.
The record does not start with boisterous fanfare but rather dives in with two big overtures, which are the two heftiest tracks: “Bury the Floors” and “A Conversation about Death on New Year’s Eve”.
First, we are immediately introduced to Eiseland’s vocals. He hums delicately over the haunting beat of the organ, echoing “…that the stars are on and shining…” The lyrics and order of the songs are a narrative of a funeral. The band takes listeners through the emotions. Eiseland’s soft, cooing vocals continue to bleed into the next track. Conversations with oneself are an inescapable act. Here, Eiseland takes blame when the chaos spins out of control, “There were things that I meant, but I never ever said / Just to hurt you…and they did…and now I am sorry, I am sorry…” ultimately wrapped in denial.
As the tracks progress, so do the emotions. A sense of calmness seeps through in “Five Minutes”. The guitar strums and plucks in synch with the harmonies and back-up vocals — consisting of Bass Ryne Estwing, Keys/Guitar Jason Harper and Eiselandʻs wife, Alissa Eiseland — providing a sense of nirvana to Eiseland’s storytelling of the song. Anger and a sense of entitlement take a step forward in the heavily favored track “I Swear to God.” The two minute hymn is accompanied with a church organ providing a choral mood. No longer are Eiseland’s vocals mere whispers but more of a defiant tone. “You’re the only one who could have saved him / Yeah you could’ve but you let him go/now my father’s dead and still you haven’t shown.” He yearns to know, “where are you Jesus?”
Although Scattered Trees is not crossing into new territory, Sympathy is a graceful, musical celebration of love and remembrance. The album does not grow tiresome with its tone or subject matter. It is a lighter affair that focuses fondly on the past.
You can download their latest single “Four Days Straight” here. Be sure to check out Scattered Trees on Facebook or at their record label Roll Call Records. To read our live show review of Scattered Trees’ set at Sunset Tavern, check it out here.