More Like Trees

Roots, Shoots & Leaves

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London's More Like Trees may be a trio, but they make enough racket that most listeners will peg them as a collective, especially upon dropping the stylus (so to speak) on "Trees," the Gypsy Kings-kissed opening track on their full-length studio debut, Roots, Shoots & Leaves. Siblings Josh and Matt Whitehouse, and double bassist Lachlan Radford, specialize in high energy, urban folk-rock (a pretty accurately self described blend of "flamenco, drum & bass, classical, hip-hop, indie, dance, and folk" or "strum and bass") that pays homage to a dizzying array of influences, from the big-hearted, block-rock, reggae-infused pump of Sublime and the worldbeat and dub-tinged emissions of Mescaleros-era Joe Strummer, to the sly, post-pub/pre-club Britpop of the Arctic Monkeys and the politically charged acoustic punk of Frank Turner. That said, Roots, Shoots & Leaves' greatest asset is that it's just plain fun to ingest, due in large part to the fact the trio's technical acumen matches the attitude with which each note is delivered. Even when the album piles on the guest appearances, as it does on the back half with capable assistance from the likes of freestylist Klumzy Tongue and Irish multi-instrumentalist Fjokra, beat boxer Reeps One, the One Taste Choir, and the Swell String Section, the latter of whom help to expand stand-out cuts like "Pieces" and "For Sure" beyond their sweaty, beer hall-blasted confines, it does so with its identity intact. More Like Trees may sound like the sum of their influences, but they're using their own spices to sweeten the pot, and like all good Dickensian miscreants, they're doing it on their own terms.

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