From London, England, comes One Day We Will Be The Trees, a prog rock combo that create riff-driven, largely instrumental tracks heavily inspired by bands like Biffy Clyro, Tiny Moving Parts and Oceansize. I admit I’m not familiar with those bands, but if you enjoy progressive rock you will find many similarities between this band’s music and your own favorite artists. 

If anything, One Day We Will Be The Tree’s 2023 release Brink puts the lie to those that say prog rock or math rock is too cerebral to truly “rock.” Though there’s plenty of stuff here to engage your brain, Brink also regularly kicks into overdriven riffing that’s impossible not to connect with!

“…And The Leaves Will Shield Our Eyes” is the first of the unwieldy titles, just to be sure you know this is prog! It starts with that mellow, acoustic Yes sound slowly building variations on a simple picked pattern. Just as you’re lulled into a dreamy state, a wall of electric guitars slam in, though only adding to the expansive feel. After a halo of concluding feedback, this track’s followed by  “A Tangled Fog Of Pulsating Yearning In The Shape Of A Woman.” The beat is established by clapping or knee-slapped hands, and really gets into the One Day We Will Be The Trees style: math rock patterns on electric guitars with subtle variations in the melodies and beats. I love how the bass and drums blaze their own path against the pattern beds, creating unexpected harmonic events. Once again, at about the two-minute mark the blazing fuzz guitars arrive against a bed of Tubular Bells-style keyboards and Steve Howe-like lead patterns.

“Spectre” is the first track with vocals. It’s got a punk rock energy both with the English accents and the subject matter (“I’m in a rage! I can’t contain! We are lost in apathy!”). This track would remind me of The Clash if it was just slightly less complicated. Actually that just applies to Part One, as there are two distinct sections to this song separated by silence. Part Two is a bit more playful with many creative and beautiful guitar moments without excessive fuzz or distortion. Between you and me I’d call this my favorite track without Part One!

“All These Squares Make A Circle” returns to the heavy fuzz riff machines, not dissimilar to Metallica at their best. They have perfected a great guitar sound: bathed in distortion while still delivering actual chords with clarity. But this track takes its leave after just a minute, making way for “Speaker For The Dead.” This one’s quite musically upbeat for such a scary title, and it has an interesting build where each instrument adds their parts bit by bit, building power as they progress. The climax sees the lead guitar flailing its pick in quadruple time playing a gorgeous, classically influenced melody. Another great one!

“A Vacancy, A Void” features that classic, wonderful, phat moog synth sound right up front. This would be the more mellow side of One Day We Will Be The Trees – dreamier and less mathematical. You can imagine some moments playing in a movie like “Midnight Express.” 

“Disengage” is the second vocal track (of three) and is built on a picked acoustic motif with string-like synth pads. Once again there’s two distinct sections, with more strummed acoustics being added for Part Two. The music is so folky and magical that in a blind “taste test” you’d never guess this is the same group!

“What A Way To Fall Apart” returns to the punk rock energy of the earlier tracks, with transparent-sounding fuzz electrics and insistent bass & beats. It’s almost like a hardcore band invited jazz-rock Jeff Beck to play lead guitar.

“I Used To Have An Anger Problem, Now I Have An Anger Solution” is a hilarious title to a pretty epic (almost six minute) track. The opening has the feel of music playing across a desert landscape (would that be Tex Mex?) before kicking into riff-heavy rock at double speed. The track’s middle section has a blast playing with loud-soft dynamics, with the crusty fuzz guitars getting so close to the mic you fear it will crater into itself. This would have been an epic conclusion, but the band chooses a softer ending with the folky final vocal tune “These Cursed, Mottled Hands.” I hear this song as a cry from the remnants of a lost relationship, as the narrator only has “cursed, mottled hands” to hang onto life itself with. The blasting rock finale hints at the final shreds of hope we should save for ourselves.

I’m partial to both prog rock and folk, and this set’s an interesting and absorbing blend of the two. Don’t tarry, it’s a great album!

Garth Thomas