Tallest Trees – The Ostrich on the Lark

Tallest Trees - The Ostrich on the Lark

You know, despite their rampant popularity and ever idiosyncratic sound, there really aren’t a lot of bands that sound like Animal Collective. That’s partly a testament to the band’s “unfuckwithable” songwriting voice, and because they’ve gone through so many phases and periods, at this point its hard to finger what exactly the Animal Collective ‘sound’ is.

However, Tallest Trees make it easy on us music journalists and take inspiration from a very specific record, that being Feels, the folky, dreamy, child-like ode to adoration which in retrospect sounds like the first installment of a trilogy of increasingly pop-focused albums that eventually culminated in 2009’s shining opus Merriweather Post Pavilion. But if that shouldn’t sound reductive, Tallest Trees’ latest record The Ostrich on the Lark is a striking and remarkably fully-formed work that incorporates far more ideas than what anyone would expect from the band.

It’s not to say Tallest Trees are the first group to play this brand of amniotic folk, but they’re one of the few that follow the aesthetic all the way down its rabbit hole. Left to any other band, a song like “Love Like Blankets” would coast along at the easy, smile-inducing acoustic melody that dominates the first half-minute of the song, but instead the band deconstructs the pleasantness into a mechanical experiment in avant-folk electronica. “Learn” bounces along at an unremarkable arpeggio before erupting into a kaleidoscopic smattering of pillowed horns and amp-busting guitar tricks. Even the otherwise unremarkable space-filler “Upstream” incorporates enough tape-stitched mixing and Boards of Canada-esque field samples to keep it apart from every other “ambient stretch in a rock record” in the world.

With The Ostrich on the Lark, Tallest Trees have created a record unique to the point that its only discernible relative is an album by one of the most creative bands in the last decade. It’s easy to call it Feels pt. 2 and pay no mind, but you’d be doing yourself and the band a disservice. Music this uncommonly pretty deserves as much recognition as it can get.

Tallest Trees