Thursday, December 5, 2013
By RICK JOHNSON
Anybody who's ever picked up a guitar and banged away on it just for the sheer joy of making a loud racket is going to love Theodore Treehouse's latest self-titled release. Whether you're a musician or not, even if you've just pounded on a drum kit in a friend's basement or warbled off-key into a microphone on a drunken karaoke night, you know how much fun there is to be had in the simple act of making music. This is exactly the mood that Theodore Treehouse has captured. This band's garage door is wide open, and everyone is having a blast.
HOW IT RATES
THEODORE TREEHOUSE: "THEODORE TREEHOUSE"
We know we're in for some fun right from the get-go as the simple sing-song opening lines of "Friendship Bracelet" expand into an exuberant blend of whistles, handclaps and ringing guitars. Vocally, Ian Ferrell perfectly straddles that line between ironic indie-rock detachment and plain old garage-rock sincerity. What he lacks in range and control is more than made up for by enthusiasm and earnestness.
And as Ferrell sings about "feeling blue as the sea" and "missing the leaves of New England," what sounds like a gang of drunken friends joins in for shouts of "I'm busy with my radio!" Those type of backing vocals are present throughout the album, making the whole thing sound like a great and rowdy backyard party on a summer Saturday night.
The fun continues on "Skyo," where a slide whistle kicks things off nicely and a galloping beat marches us along on a really great musical road trip. A sharp change in tempo near the end, combined with those rousing background shouts mark this tune as a future live favorite.
The traveling vibe continues on "Trees and Wires" with Ferrell singing of deserts, fields of grain, deep oceans and the "wide expanse." This is car radio music of the best kind. The song devolves into a joyous punky cacophony during its final minutes, segueing right into the album's loudest and catchiest track, the infectious "Give Your Love Away." Just try and sit still while listening to this one! Trust me it's impossible.
The slow chug of "Headlights" sounds serious at first, but the fun creeps back in with some charming "la la la" backing vocals and another spirited chorus that finds Ferrell singing himself raw. The "Rawhide"-esque stomp of "Gallop" closes out the album in frenetically fine fashion, but don't be surprised if you find yourself reaching for the "play" button again. Theodore Treehouse is one fun summer ride that you'll want to take again and again.
Download the album for $10 at: theodoretreehouse.bandcamp.com/album/theodore-treehouse
Rick Johnson is a freelance writer and radio host from Westbrook. He can be reached at: