reviewed by Laura Stanley
In 1965, Paul Simon said that he was “a rock and an island” and had “no need of friendship, friendship causes pain,” in his Simon & Garfunkel song, “I Am A Rock.”
Taking a rather different approach compared to Mr. Simon, Adrian Chalifour, the core member of the Victoria band Towers and Trees, tells us that he and his significant other are, “not islands, you and I we’re friends” in the band’s infectious new song “We’re Not Islands.”
The new record from the collective band, which also features The O’Darling and Aidan Knight & Friendly Friends member Olivier Clements on flugelhorn and trumpet, Broken Record, at its core, is an album about love and relationships. But Chalifour and the rest of Towers and Trees don’t let the coverage of the one subject cause all of the record’s songs to sound the same.
The previously referenced “We’re Not Islands” opens Towers and Trees’ Broken Record. A poppy, catchy, and overall radio friendly hit, “We’re Not Islands” takes the familiar territory of folk-rock and punches it up a notch thanks to the sincere passion from Chalifour and a fiddle section from Kiana Brasset, making it the highlight of the short record.
Starting off with a jazzy trumpet inclusion from Clements that will go on to frame the song, Chalifour paints a very thrilling and sultry picture of the city in “Montreal.” A similar sensuality that’s found in “Montreal” also finds its way into the following song, “Devil on the Highway.” Fast-paced, sexually charged, “Devil on the Highway” is reminiscent of a Dave Matthews Band song with its big-band sound.
With three very full and buoyant songs in a row, Broken Record takes a quieter turn half way through the album, allowing the band to fall back on their folk roots. “The Offering” and “Broken Song” are both primarily acoustic, singer-songwriter type sound where Chalifour is clearly at the forefront, the band providing backup, an obvious change from the collectivity of the first half of the album but still successful.
Broken Record closes with a bitter, though it doesn’t musically sound like it, in “Wandering Ivy.” Fuelled by a mandolin, Chalifour lets out the occasional howl matched with some good ol’ foot stomping, and the return of the fiddle for an almost country infused record ending.
Showing the different, and talented, sides of Towers and Trees, Broken Record may not be collectively sound but without a doubt offers listeners something quite enjoyable with each passing song.
Broken Record is available on Bandcamp.
Top Tracks: “We’re Not Islands,” “Devil on the Highway”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)