Between The Trees have had a tumultuous year where they lost two members and were dropped from their label, but their new record Spain is no reflection of that. While their sound has matured and their style has changed, their positive message is stronger than ever. Vocalist/guitarist Ryan Kirkland, drummer Josh Butler, and bassist Jeremy Butler remain at the core of the band, and they prove that setbacks can make you rather than break you.
Their first single, “We Can Try,” has one of the biggest guitar, piano, and vocal hooks I’ve heard all year, and does a perfect job of opening the album. With their previous work, Kirkland’s powerful voice had the tendency to be overpowering, and even though on Spain he takes greater risks and displays his full range, each instrument has its distinct role. The keys on this record are phenomenal as well, and with keyboardist Wes Anderson recently deciding to leave the band I’m interested to see the direction they’re going to take. But surprisingly, what really stand out are the drums. Normally an afterthought, the lively beats are the strongest parts of every song. Perhaps the most refreshing part of this album is that no two tracks are the same; the hooks are unique and comprised of much more than just vocals.
Between The Trees have been one of my favorite bands for the past two years, and while that has a lot to do with their musical style, it has more to do with the messages within their lyrics. Their uplifting and inspirational lyrics never get old, and it is very clear that every line and every note they use has a purpose. And even though Spain seems like an odd album title for such a profound band, it’s an extended metaphor that expresses dreams, change, and personal growth.