I've never spent any significant amount of time in the UK. Only once, a six-hour layover in 2003. Meandering around Heathrow like a lost 18-year-old does. To take in proper British scenery, I've had to rely on what BBC shows we get in Canada, other people's testaments or pictures. Typically, confirmation from my parents while watching a British show on TVO. "It looks just like that!" So green, so quaint and friendly. But to get a feeling of what it is like, certain music has conveyed it. ‘Penny Lane’ from The Beatles; Led Zeppelin's acoustic-with-mandolin material embodies the Welsh countryside; and Joy Division represents that transition of old world to modern day Manchester. Enter the Treetop Flyers and their journey from their past American West Coast influenced albums to the latest, classically British-inspired album, Old Habits.
The single 'Castlewood Road' shows that departure of their old ways. The Britishness is apparent here, as it was written, recorded and mixed all within the same home. It's an easy, yet noninvasive listen, like a walk to a casual brunch on a much needed day off. The band employs the sounds of northern soul on Sam Beer's rhodes-esque introduction and the laid-back clean guitars of Laurie Sherman. Lead singer Reid Morrison, donning an ever-so-English ascot in the promotional video, draws upon the Joe Cocker and Gary Brooker frontman style of days past. The "put it all out there" method with a cast of backup singers invokes the communal, local pub band ensemble, consisting of the known local talent and who's who. The sound to make you sway with friends or a lover, pints in hand, all of whom are slightly soused.
You have to give it to Treetop Flyers. Where there always seems to be a renaissance of vintage rock and bands throwing back to the groups that inspired them, many feel like they're doing it for a cash grab or they just don't know how to sound any different. Old Habits is intentional, but altruistic. As they stepped away from West Coats vibes, they dug into their country's geographical and musical rock roots, immersed themselves in what was hiding below, and created a real, British record. All the instruments complement each other without youthful selfishness, but relying on one another, as learned adults would do.
8 / 10