Have a little “Sympathy” for Scattered Trees

By Andrew McDaniel | gargoyle@flagler.edu

The debut album “Sympathy” by Scattered Trees, a Chicago-based sextet,  is a deeply personal one. Lead singer Nate Eiesland wrote the songs on this CD after the death of his father. The album explores love, loss and life in melodic fashion.

It starts with “Bury The Floors.” This is a stand out track. There is a dirge-like harmony backing Nate’s vocals. It sets the slightly dark tone of the album.

Next comes “A Conversation.” This is possibly the best track. The song starts slow with some synth and a persistent drum beat. As the song continues it builds to a full arrangement.

The album switches gears with “I’m in a Panic.” A faster tempo and lighter quality to the vocals bring in a more upbeat feel while still singing about loss. The sleigh bells on this track do get repetitive.

“Love and Leave” is a mid tempo track that showcases Nate’s vocal sensitivity and falsetto. The song builds beautifully with a decent guitar solo leading the way.

The next song, “Four Days Straight,” brings in a touch of indie pop. This song features heavy synth and a fair share of hand clapping. It is a nice addition to the album.

The title track, “Sympathy,” takes the listener in another direction. Acoustic guitar and a slightly low-fi vocal lead into nice harmony and piano.

The album loses some steam with “Five Minutes.” It literally is a five minute long song that meanders for a little too long. There is no real build up on this one until the last minute of the song. By then, it was not enough to make up for the other four minutes.

“Where You Came From” brings the album back on course. Once again featuring acoustic guitar and low-fi vocals, Scattered Trees seems to find their niche on this song. The guitar slides help elevate this song to another level.

Next comes “I Swear to God.” Even though song has a steady beat and lighter sound than some of the other songs on the album, it has deeply personal lyrics.

The last track is “On Your Side.” This one is lost in the mix of the CD. It is a good song, but it’s a little too similar to the others. It doesn’t stand out.

Though “Sympathy” lacks diversity, it is a strong but imperfect debut for Scattered Trees. This is a band to keep an eye on.

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