We’ve already introduced you to the shimmering indiefolk of Tree of Wolves in our Ones to Watch 2015 list and Shapes, their single from earlier in the year. Now we bring you their debut EP, Sleepwalking.
Features editor Sarah Lay reviews.
We’ve been getting excited about Carmarthen five-piece Tree of Wolves for a while and when we heard the Fleetwood Mac-channelling lead single Shapes earlier in the year we were sure the full EP would be pretty damn special. And we weren’t wrong.
Across the five tracks we get touches of classic indie, full-bodied folk and pop; all shimmering harmonies, hand-claps and soaring melodies. It is, in short, an accomplished debut that lifts the heart and tempts you toward the dance floor.
David R Edwards (Datbylgu) guest vocals on opener Paper Ghosts, the almost spoken lyrics over shots of chiming guitar and racing persuasion make for just over a minute of post-punk indiepop that sounds very different to the rest of the EP and yet manages to set the tone perfectly for what is to come.
It leads straight into the single, Shapes, where we get the harmonies of boy/girl vocal and plenty of oh-oh-oh-oooohs and punches of percussion along with that glow of guitars, drenching the whole thing in late summer sun.
But if Shapes is the escape along a desert highway then Sebastian is the hand pulling you forward onto the dark of the dance floor, spinning you around until you’re punch-drunk on handclaps and the quick one-two of musical references and breathy harmonies. The is a rock n roll resonance to the bouncing guitar line before it is all overtaken by the soaring build toward the call-out chorus, an exaltation to the exuberance of youth.
Only Love is a sparser track, with an itchy snare-driven verse and tumbling percussion, an electronic heartbeat speeding us into the chorus where once again the lush harmonies soar over the top of everything. The chant of ‘only love can save us now’ becomes anthemic as it repeats and the guitar fuzzes beneath it; insistent, persistent and infectiously catchy. John Blease (Ghostpoet) adds percussion to this irresistible slice of pop.
Title track Sleepwalking closes the EP, a mellow comedown to the pop before it. Layered rhythms and breathy vocals as a lead in to that bigger chorus, the racing percussions against the longing of the lyrics. The whole track is infused with the conviction, the rawness of heartbreak and the sweeping melody of hope. A beautifully crystalline song which manages to be delicate without ever feeling fragile.
There’s a deserved buzz building around Tree of Wolves and on the strength of this shimmering debut EP we wouldn’t be surprised to see them making their way into a lot of hearts, onto even more turntables and climbing up the billing on festival line-ups over the next 12 months.
Tree of Wolves’ Sleepwalking EP is released on Bandcamp and CD on 8 May, with a launch event at The Parrot, Carmarthen on the same day. The band will be on a UK tour over the summer.