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THE DREAMING TREE Grafting Lines and Spreading Rumours (2007)

The Dreaming Tree

Now here's something different, a Prog rock band with pop pretensions. Except that pretensions is the wrong word as The Dreaming Tree are a band in pursuit of diverse musical expression and are not afraid to follow the path where their creativity takes them. And in Chris Buckler they have a versatile vocalist who by turns soars like Simon Le Bon from Duran Duran (but don't let that put you off) and has a rare ability to intuitively find space in between some complex instrumental arrangements.

But the Dreaming Tree are apparently no ordinary band, having taken their time to craft an album's worth of strong songs and even build their own studio in an effort to make 'Grafting Lines and Spreading Rumours' as good as it possibly could be. The end result is like the curates egg, good in parts - in fact very good in parts.

Overall the songs are always engaging, the playing confident, and the vocals effortless as they rise above several memorable melody lines. The two main elements of melodic pop and heavier rock progressions are to be found in the jaunty opener 'Ring', with its ascending bass line and sudden guitar break, while Dan Jones's three note guitar motif adds a chiming effect to a busy repeated bass pattern on the impressive 'Ashes'.

Somehow the band manages to incorporate a mutually exclusive melodic vocal line and Proggy backdrop into something cohesive. Chris Buckler further impresses with a poppy refrain on 'The Best Kind of (the alcohol song'). And as he searches for some lower register phrasing he evokes David Bowie, while the band works up an uplifting instrumental break. And so it is that that The Dreaming Tree come to add their own colourful textures to some fractured, stop start rhythms on the Proggy track 'Static' a song ostensibly about globalisation and the like, which much like the later 'Between the Lines', is very reminiscent of Jethro Tull.

But this is a band that doesn't labour a music point for too long, with different elements of light and shade, with a Hammond workout here and some flowing piano arpeggios there and the kind of musical ebbs and flows that mirror the very same lyrics on 'Between the Lines'.

Perhaps the most remarkable track is the very radio friendly 'Unified' which employs some lovely melodic textures and a great hook which concludes with the lovely lyric, 'Beautiful Oblivion' - surely a better title that 'Unified'. And they finish off with both a great lyrical line, 'Wasting time with the future that looks like the past' on 'Love, Love, Love' and rock out with abandon on 'Remains the Same' complete with a pastiche 50's vocal rock & roll mid section.

'Grafting Lines and Spreading Rumours' is just about the perfect title for an album that redefines prog rock as a creative source without any of the hackneyed clichés, relying instead on a delicate mix of well structured melodic songs with just enough room to improvise elegantly!


Review by Pete Feenstra

Band website

GRTR! Recommended

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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