Like Trees We Grow Up to Be Satellites (The Backwards America)
It’s always an interesting proposition when a member of an instrumental post-rock band steps out from the relative anonymity of the collective to stake a claim in the spotlight. Even more noteworthy are those like William Lazarus (aka Tarentel’s Trevor Montgomery) who, through the act of going solo, also undergo a complete sonic upheaval in the process. Sure, there’s more than an occasional tinge of post-rock excess that breaks through the minimalist Lazarus guise, but for the most part, these songs rely on simple strummed acoustic guitars lines and gentle electronic punctuation. Naturally, the moments when Montgomery strays from the expected one-man-band route are when the album really takes off, as with the sinisterly angelic choral “ahs” on “Fashion/Murder,” the underwater murk and SONAR burbles of “The Poet of Emptiness” and the gutter-scuzz pop blast “Singing to the Thieves.”
Lyrically, Montgomery paints with a tastefully psychedelic palette, where urban meets rural and coexists in some sort of melancholy harmony. It’s a great backdrop for his downtrodden characters to set their inner angst against. It’s also perfectly indicative of San Francisco, where most of this album was conceived and recorded. That said, Montgomery’s double-tracked diction is a little stilted, awkward and slightly off-putting, as it feels affected at times, instead of natural. It’s an easily rectifiable problem given enough spins; and for the pleasant returns this disc will yield with repeat listens, it’s definitely worth the effort.
Temporary Residence: www.temporaryresidence.com