Taken By Trees | East of Eden

Rough Trade (2009)
By MICHAEL BRODEUR  |  September 2, 2009
4.0 4.0 Stars

0909_trees-main

Truth be told, I get a little crumply whenever I hear of Western indie types going off on East-bound inspirational jaunts. If not undertaken with some restraint — as in, say, the various approaches/appropriations of Polvo, the Joggers, or, here, Victoria Bergsman of Concretes/"Young Folks" fame, now going as Taken by Trees — this kind of æsthetic tourism can saddle listeners with an uncomfortable vicarious fanny pack.

Another hazard is coming off as overly mystified or just plain indelicate (stirring the ghost of Edward Said) rather than simply attentive and intuitive. On East of Eden, Bergsman's setting — various indoor and outdoor sites around Pakistan — reveals itself gently in hue and milieu. Often it's as if the songs were just windows to the streets below.

"Anna" opens with a swelling loop of children in the street chanting at play before tapering into slender, sunshiny pop of the sort that gets Target execs thinking spring. "Greyest Love of All" has a stirringly slack melancholy that, but for Bergsman's brightening effect, could've been a homage to Viva Hate. "My Boys" fires Animal Collective's bottle rocket into clearer night skies; "Bekännelse" finds her chanting Swedish atop a sprawling drone of harmonium, flute, and sitar. Because Bergsman keeps Eden's doors open (centerpiece "Wapas Karma" is a traditional performed entirely by locals), there's a natural light and a welcome freshness — a breeze from across the world, rather than a suitcase of souvenirs.

Related: Review: El Perro Del Mar at the Brattle, Photos: El Perro Del Mar at the Brattle Theatre, Best unsung albums of 2009, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Animal Collective, Animal Collective, Victoria Bergsman,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY MICHAEL BRODEUR
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   FOLK ACT  |  June 26, 2010
    Vikesh Kapoor
  •   BOSTON PRIDE WEEK: OFF THE MAP  |  June 07, 2010
    We may seem a little cranky, but us local gayfolk just love a parade, and we’re actually heartened by this annual influx of brothers and sisters from every state of New England and every letter of our ever-expanding acronym.  
  •   THE NEW GAY BARS  |  June 02, 2010
    If I may channel the late, great Estelle Getty for a moment: picture it, Provincetown, 2009, a dashing young man with no discernible tan and an iffy T-Mobile signal languishes bored upon the sprawling patio of the Boatslip Resort.
  •   ARIEL PINK’S HAUNTED GRAFFITI | BEFORE TODAY  |  June 01, 2010
    If the gradual polishing of Ariel Pink’s sound — and it’s not all that much more polished — puts his loyalists at odds with his albums, I count that as good news.
  •   MORE THAN HUMAN  |  May 26, 2010
    It’s hard to talk about Janelle Monáe when your jaw’s fallen off.

 See all articles by: MICHAEL BRODEUR