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Big Tree | My How You've Grown

album review by John Powell

Big Tree | My How You've Grown

Big Tree was making indie pop before such a genre was “in”. They were born about the same time that Fleet Foxes was making moody mountain music and Sufjan Stevens was orchestrating the U.S. Big Tree’s unique sound hasn’t changed much since their conception, even if the rest of the genre has slipped away from original to standard.

Matt Schory replaced Colin Farhner a while back, and Danny Pirello’s been on guitar for so long that he feels more like the original guitarist, (Tom Tierny, where are you, though?). Anna Ghezzi is the fourth incarnation of harmony vocals, although she must feel right at home because her performance is playful and sensual. Plus, her voice seems to naturally match Kaila McCyntyre-Bader’s.

Then, of course, there’s Luke Bace, whose bass is just as recognizable as Kaila’s voice. His ability to fill in the spaces of tuned noise is tirelessly potent. As the the only two original members, Kaila and Luke have had years to build tasty chemistry.

With My, How You’ve Grown, Big Tree throws caution to the wind and has more fun with these five songs than either of their full lengths. This EP is certainly the best produced music so far. The quintet has honed their whirring guitar textures, jazz-infused folk bass, thunder drums, and sweeping vocals to perfection.

The best track is “San Francisco”, a sugary ode to the city that represents the band’s current hub. Kaila’s voice takes on new whirlwinds and Danny’s guitar solo makes you realize he doesn’t get as much playtime in Big Tree songs as he could be taking. Whenever the chorus comes around, Danny’s pop lead guitar and the melody become more addictive.

Of course, all the songs do what Big Tree does best: make the tightest pop song and bit by bit render it into off-beat indie, like pop chocolate chips in an indie cookie. Any way you slice it, Big Tree would have to work at writing an unfriendly song. Their charm is indelible.

Bottom line: Some of Big Tree’s best work, and proof that magic isn’t dead.

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