Piano pop rock is slowly but surely developing into a widespread genre. Ashtree provides positive contribution to the relatively undefined genre with their enchanting album, Rescue The Light. The proud Colorado natives incorporate their home state into the cool album. Giving us a feel of Colorado’s notorious winters is the opening track, “January.” The slow-moving song describes the cold month, not only with the lyrics, but with the instruments. The guitars and drums start off dramatically slow, but soon escalate into a blizzard of sound. It’s a beautiful introduction to the album.
Ashtree defines themselves as a piano pop rock quintet with “Wide Open.” The piano is more conspicuous, the guitars are more upbeat. The pop track is a warm contrast to its antecedent. Following “Wide Open” is the “I’m Sure.” Again, it opens with a piano intro, then continues as a pop/rock track. The drums are arguably the best part of the song; particularly as the climactic drumming slowly drowns out the sound of the other elements towards the end.
The band leans more toward the rock side with “Backbone.” It relies more heavily on the driving guitars and stroking drums. That said, the band still sounds effortlessly charming with the flawless vocals and beautiful piano. The album’s namesake is like a piano ballad with the other instruments providing support. Seemingly boring, the song is actually a pretty dope. Its continuously changing tempo keeps you listening–even if you aren’t actually hearing the “words [they] have to say.”
“Pretender” was unfortunately forgettable, BUT it’s a genius concept. The lyrics are empowering and the instruments are impeccable. Vocalist Will Johnston sounds amazing over the gorgeous piano keys. Oh and the band filmed a cute video for it:
Ashtree gets slow and sexy with “Hold Me Slow.” If you don’t fall in love with them listening to this, you’re probably heartless (or a guy). Everything works together to create a dreamy and romantic vibe without sounding cheesy.
Rescue The Light closes out with “Closer.” The song is a solid ending; it has a catchy chorus, strong lyrics, memorable instrumentals, and captivating vocals. The long instrumental ending just gives further proof that this band is in a league of their own, pushing the boundaries of modern pop rock. It’s haunting, yet lulls you in to listen right to the end.
Ashtree definitely has something. The genre idea may not be original, but this band sure is. With standout tracks like “I’m Sure” and “Hold Me Slow,” the band has a chance of growing their fanbase beyond the state of Colorado.