Between the Trees kick off their debut The Story and the Song album with the anthemic come-on "The Forward" which invites their fans-to-be to join them in a singalong of a song the band wrote for and about them. Who could resist such a compliment-cum-request, especially when it's wrapped in a perfect alt pop package? Amazingly though, it's not that track, but the second, "White Lines & Red Lights," that was slated for singledom. Well, one can see the logic, the driving "Lines" more accurately showcases the group's emo core across a number bursting with feeling, lovely keyboard work, strong guitar, and a rumbling rhythm. In which case, the Southern-fried "You Cry a Tear to Start a River" illustrates their occasional foray into eclecticism. But mostly the Trees root themselves in what they do best, slugging out emo with a pop tinge on numbers powered by the flashy rhythm section of bassist Jeremy Butler and drummer Josh Butler, while guitarist Ryan Kirkland and keyboardist Wes Anderson vie for attention on top. Anderson's the classier of the two, adding grandiose, swooping atmospheres and an elegant tone to the sound, Butler's the more versatile, flipping from the jagged chords of post-punk into the power riffs of rock, sliding into the emotive leads of the modern age and back to the chiming, harmony laced riffs of new wave, often in the breadth of a single song. Intricate without drawing attention to that fact, the music fills the grooves, but Kirkland's strong vocals easily surmount the power of the music, giving bite to the band's romance strewn, introspective, relationship-strewn lyrics. A strong debut from a band whose story and songs are just beginning.
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AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene