"So This Is Silence" kicks off the Trees' debut with a semi-tribal drum rhythm sounding not unlike something from the Cure's Pornography, albeit lighter; given that Cure drummer Lol Tolhurst produced the record, such a connection makes perfect sense. However, the Trees weren't, and have never been, mere clones of the Cure despite Tolhurst's help and Robert Smith's long-term patronage, though at this stage of their careers the band's collective influences certainly hung heavy. Flecks of all the early British post-punk/proto-goth big names crop up throughout, from Justin Jones' chiming, intricate guitar lines a la the Chameleons or the Comsat Angels to Simon Jones' Ian McCullochesque sense of vocal projection (unsurprising given how both singers took inspiration from Jim Morrison; the Doors' general sense of art-rock theater informs much of the album's general vibe, if not specifically the sound). While lacking in immediately catchy songs -- partially due to the fact that at this point the band generally favored series of verses or poetry without rhyme to more conventional lyric structures -- the album still kicks up some smoke, as with the quite atmospheric "Midnight Garden" and the first gentle, then brawling "The Tease the Tear." "Shrine" is especially noteworthy, given its intricate guitar work mixed with somewhat flanged effects, which soon would become a key element to the Trees' sound. Add to that some nicely melancholy cover art of a fog-shrouded forest and the generally rural setting of the lyrics, and a distinctly 'old' English flavor becomes clear, which would also help further set the Trees apart from other similar bands in later years.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett