It’s been a long time coming for London quintet Treetop Flyers, but they are finally on their way to success, filling out Islington Assembly Hall last month for their biggest headline gig to date.
The band, who recently recorded an exclusive session of new single ‘Houses Are Burning’ for The Boatshed (video below), broke through the ranks at Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition in 2011 but only came to release their debut album ‘The Mountain Moves’ in April this year to some quiet success.
Since then it’s been a steady uphill slog for the band but with school hall style venue packed with a mix of friends, family and bearded folk fans, they seem to be on the cusp of something bigger and better.
Despite feeling as if they are in upward trajectory, their trademark sound has been resolutely consistent from the early EPs; a wonderfully balanced take on electronic guitar country folk with lead singer Reid Morrison’s rich voice acting as the driving force behind the band’s ultra-tight harmonies.
Championed by folk collective Communion and now on Loose Records, they are cut from a similar cloth as their nu-folk peers such as Three Blind Wolves and Half Moon Run but Treetop Flyers have an air of comradery that shines through on stage.
Morrison is lucky enough not only to have a voice that makes the hairs stand up but also that much needed spark in a front man that causes him to entertain with gestures, quips and chatter in every gap. Now garnering the attention he deserves for that voice, he seems in his element as the set moved through material from ‘The Mountain Moves’.
Opening with Making Time the band are tight in their performance and due to their understated reputation, you’d be forgiven for forgetting how long this band have been around. It’s like being in on a well kept secret, one at least that the rest of the 500 strong crowd are also in on.
Postcards pulled up the tempo and showcased the band’s strength for setting trademark Americana style harmonising with catchy riffs and hooks. Treetop Flyers definitely encapsulated and perfected that all American sound within the vocals and guitar during their writing break over the pond in 2012.
Proving once again that their sound has stayed true throughout their development, they perform the first track they ever wrote together, Is It All Worth It. Acoustically delivered on stage and the result of a jam session way back when, the guitar parts are the perfect amount of intricate to keep it all interesting. Morrison’s voice is buoyed by hymnal choral harmonies that are reminiscent of the great Simon and Garfunkel.
Much loved single Things Will Change follows later, cleverly transitioning things up from She’s Gotta Run. Part of an early Communion sampler CD with the likes of Daughter, it’s this track that the audience reacts the most to especially when the band smoothly segue into a appreciated cover of 1969 classic Proud Mary by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
A touching moment comes with the unveiling of new song St Andrews Cross; an emotional tribute to Morrison’s Dad who he tells the silent crowd passed away from cancer some time ago. A simple and powerful ballad is a fitting testament to Morrison’s talents and musical expression.
Admitting the song was “A bad note to finish on” the band end with guitar charged Haunted House where some face-melting solos are played out on a glittery blue electric making it the right note to end the evening.
With this impressive performance being the biggest headline set from the band to date and with the likelihood of new material next year, this is a band seem to be flying.
By Sarah Joy