Just nineteen months after More Like Trees played their first concert in an East London pub, the London-based, acoustic trio release their debut E.P. Full Circle on 26th November 2012, on BBE Music. Ever since that debut gig, More Like Trees have built a loyal following and in the process, while generating a huge buzz within the music industry. It’s no surprise More Like Trees have become so popular, given how hard they work. They’ve become regulars on the festival circuit, ever since they hooked up with Joe Driscoll. Secret Garden, Sham Bala and Green Man are just a few of the festivals where More Like Trees have played. While becoming a regular and favorite of festival and concert-goers, the three members of More Like Trees, guitarist and lead vocalist Josh, double bassist Lachlan and cajon and percussionist Matt have refined their own totally unique sound. Not only is this sound unique, but it’s lead to More Like Trees single handedly, founding a new scene, strum and bass.

Strum and bass sees More Like Trees fuse everything from drum and bass, flamenco, folk, hip hop, indie, classical and dance music. More Like Trees dispense with traditional musical rules. Instead, the reinvent and redefine a new, innovative, fusion of musical genres. This new sound has a freshness and is forward-thinking. No wonder, given that no musical genre is off limits. Similarly, collaborations with like minded artists are welcomed. On Full Circle, More Like Trees are joined by a number of guest artists.

Joining More Like Trees on Full Circle are Joe Driscoll, American loop-pedaller extraordinaire. Joe and More Like Trees are now regulars at The Local Posse sessions, where they met John Hendicott, who produced Full Circle and their debut album. Among their other collaborators at The Local Posse, are The Boxettes, Lazy Habits, John Fairhurst Band and Buffalo Ink. Collaborations for More Like Trees are a two-way process and lead to them releasing a live album.

Previously, More Like Trees have collaborated with the world’s leading female drum and bass MC Tali. This lead to More Like Trees collaborating with Tali on a live, acoustic reworking of her Dark Days, High Nights album in September 2011. Now just fourteen months later, More Like Trees have released their debut E.P. Full Circle, which I’ll now tell you about.

Opening More Like Trees’ debut E.P. Full Circle is The Night which has unveils wistful, melancholy sound when just flourishes of flamenco guitars and double bass combine. Lush strings kick in, as a deliberate, heartfelt vocal enters. It’s then that the arrangement grows, almost threatening to explode. Drama and power build and grow. A myriad of percussion, pounding drums and emotive strings take charge, accompanying a vocal that’s power and passion personified. As if spent and exhausted with the emotion that’s been expounded, there’s a lull in the arrangement. From there it builds back up, becoming a roller coaster of emotions and musical genres. Folk meets flamenco, jazz, indie and classical music. They unite to create a track that’s emotive, impassioned, heartfelt and quite beautiful.

Quivering, shivering classical strings laden with sadness open Keep On Going. They’re joined by deliberate, plucked guitars and a raspy, throaty vocal. This reminds me of Tom Waits at his finest. By now, classical and folk music combine with a healthy sprinkling of vintage Tom Waits. Drums add drama. So do the grandiose strings. They sweep and swirl theatrically and frantically. It’s a hugely impressive sound, designed to move both you, and your emotions. A double bass joins the acoustic guitar, giving the arrangement a haunting, classical sound. Drums have a very different reference point, drum and bass. The result is a dramatic, compelling and effective combination of musical genres. Who’d have imagined classical music could be combined with drum and bass, jazz and a worldweary vocal that’s reminiscent of Tom Waits in his prime could sound so good?

All Red sees a broody, moody meandering double bass joined by a melancholy acoustic guitar. Then when Josh’s vocal enters, it’s troubled, growing in tempo and power. He’s almost desperate to deliver the lyrics, doing so with drama and feeling. His vocal is delivered at breakneck speed, with just drum and bass drums, acoustic guitars and classical influenced strings which add sadness and emotion, for company. Indie sounding drums provide a pounding backbeat, as Josh lays bare his  soul. Although different from the two previous tracks, the fusion of musical genres continues. There’s everything from indie, drum and bass, flamenco, jazz and classical music thrown into More Like Trees musical melting pot as they rewrite the musical rules.

Closing Full Circle, More Like Trees’ debut E.P. is Lady Lay, which sounds like a subconscious nod to Bob Dylan. It certainly doesn’t sound like it though. Instead, it’s an explosion of flamenco guitars and dramatic drums. Then when More Like Trees have your attention, Josh delivers a deliberate, impassioned vocal against an arrangement that bursts back into life. You can’t resist it. This is new and fresh, full of energy and enthusiasm. It gallops along. Wistful, classical strings, percussion, thunderous drums and flamenco guitars unite, providing the backdrop for Josh’s vocal that’s delivered energetically and enthusiastically, at an impressive breakneck speed. Then after just under four frantic minutes, the track reaches its dramatic crescendo. What a way to close Full Circle.

After hearing the four tracks on Full Circle, More Like Trees debut E.P, you’re left drooling at the prospect of More Like Trees debut album. Quite simply, it’s a delicious taster of More Like Trees debut album. I can’t wait to hear that album, and by then, I’m sure they’ll have generated even more of a buzz than they already have. After all, how many bands can seamlessly fuse flamenco, folk, classical, jazz, drum and bass, indie, hip hop and even, some vintage Tom Waits? It’s a compelling combination of genres and influences, delivered with an unmatchable passion. Josh delivers the lyrics with a sense of desperation. It’s like a stream of consciousness, that once delivered, comes as a relief. His delivery is theatrical, in the manner of the late Alex Harvey, or more recently, Ian Dury. He seems born to perform and play some stunning guitar licks. if you think Jimi Hendricks playing flamenco, you’re spot on.  Fellow band members, double bassist Lachlan, and cajon and percussionist Matt are perfect foils. So too, are Claire Wackrow and Charmian Keay on violins and backing vocalists. Together, More Like Trees and their musical friends and collaborators have produced four genre-sprawling tracks, which have been influenced by six decades of music. The result is Full Circle, which will be released on 26th November 2012, by BBE Music. Full Circle is a delicious and tantalising taster of one of London’s hottest new bands, More Like Trees, who with talent like this, we’ll definitely be hearing a lot more of. 


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