-Greg’s Take- Scattered Trees: Sympathy

There is a time and place in everyone’s life when they feel as though all is lost. As if no one quite understands them. Whether on the surface as simply a bad day, down to a terrible break up, or even down to loss of a loved one, the escape music created on such a personal level is unparalleled.

For an artist to be able to connect with you on an intimate level based on your feelings is a special ability. For an artist to connect with you on an intimate level based on their feelings is music.

Struggling with the roller coaster of feelings that come with the loss of a loved one, Nate Eiesland turned to his music. Historically what would come to fruition is often thrown onto an album’s B side or maybe lightly incorporated into the general mass that is mutually agreed upon. 

Unless you’re Scattered Trees. 

Unless you’re a band of friends. The kind of friends that have been through enough together to know that life isn’t always beautiful sunshine and smiles. The kind that is your other family.

Taking everything in stride, this group from Chicago rallied around their lead singer, but more importantly friend, to create the debut album full of emotion. Sympathy emerges out of the soul of five individuals on the wings of sincere, stirring, and intimate ballads. 

Opening the book to Sympathy, you’re caught off guard by the incorporation of a moaning, monotonous vocal in “Bury The Floors.” It all feels off key and paced oddly, but then you’re hit with the realization that it is intentionally set to mix your feelings and mood. Life is off key and never solidly paced. This trend of deep realization has only just begun here. Following right behind with the intensely emotional, borderline uneasy  “A Conversation (About Death On New Year’s Eve).” The majority of the song is a simple base drum and snare beat laid down with a backing effect. Add in a dark vocal spilling the lyrics “The things that I said/ That were never ever meant to hurt you” and followed later by “There are things that I meant / But I never ever said / Just to hurt you / And they did.” 

Continuing on, Scattered Trees builds upon the dark, emotional album with harmonious lyrics that drop when you feel they’re going to peak and instrumentals that elevate the enormity of hurt buried deep inside. Turning up the energy ever so slightly in “Four Days Straight” it’s not hard to imagine the energy and happy attitude inside wanting to break out. The rolling drums and anathematic chants are a refreshing change of pace, but the same message. 

Like being a fly on the wall during a psychiatrist appointment, Sympathy delivers nine tracks of emotional weight and self reflection you weren’t sure you were ready for. Built on a very specific course of events, while conveying it in an incredibly strong and well built fashion, I question the longevity and ability to follow up. I will, however, be eager to hear what comes next.

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