I was not familiar with Victoria Bergsman's work with the Concretes, so I came to this album with no preconceptions at all. It is stark, haunting and beautiful. The more I listen, the more I am drawn in to its magic. Don't expect pop or liveliness, but do expect to be transported by a quiet and reflective singer at the height of her powers. And her powers are measured by what she has left out, among the spaces in the music, her haunting vocal delivery and her words. This quiet album will grow on you as you listen, it is art every bit as much as music. Emotional depth combined with minimalist songwriting at its best. Truly lovely.
On initial play of this album I was struck by the delightful quiet and simplicity of the songs. Upon repeated listening one realizes the depth to the quietness and the subtleties contained within. It is not only what you first hear but more what you can just hear that make this album outstanding.
Bought East of Eden before buying this. Both are good albums. Victoria Bergsman's voice is relaxing and haunting, if that isn't a contradiction. Some family and friends can't stand Taken by Trees - I think you love or hate it. I love it!
Taken By Trees is the solo project of Victoria Bergsman , former lead singer of The Concretes , a band who have rather passed me by. So I didn't really know what to expect , other than the impressions given by sundry reviews. They promised a listening experience of quietly devasting gorgeousness but so consequently it's a bit disappointing to find our that much of Open Field is pleasant enough but so understated and ephemeral it leaves almost no impression what so ever.
The songs are not helped by Bergman's limitations as a vocalist .She's fine with the gentle meandering songs like the splendid closing track "Cedar Trees" but on a song like "Lost And Found" other wise a terrific track but one where greater range is required she really struggles . Often this can be endearing or even exciting but with these songs, spectral and fragile as they are its irritating.
And since I've mentioned spectral and fragile the first two tracks "Tell Me " and "Julia" are tranquilly lovely but drift past in such a diffuse subtle manner , like the merest hint of a perfume in a sterile laboratory , that they are gone almost before you have registered they are there. The washes of cymbal , lush backing vocals and tumbling percussion of "The Legend" thankfully break the hazy estivation. "Sunshine Lady" is a bereft unexceptional ballad with a lone mandolin but the violins and buoyant arrangement of "Lost And Found" perk things up while the title track is an oriental sounding instrumental with plump euphonium and an elegant string arrangement that gratefully expands the albums sonic palette.
The brief "Hours Pass Like Centuries " has some pleasant piano and backing vocals but never gets going and the following track "Too Young" is just dull till the flickering piano drifts in for the last third . "Only Yesterday" is a vast improvement , a genuinely lovely ballad with pristine guitar and lovely toppling marimba .It's also the best vocal performance on the album where her rather limited voice sounds most at home on this tale of lost love. "Cedar Trees" is the best track with a devastatingly beautiful last third with angelic voices and strings off the soundtrack to "Hero".
There is much to recommend on this album but as a continuous listening experience it fully rewards the listener in small doses , while in-between these the music leaves no impression-rather like staring into a wood where every tree is of uniform shape and size till it all blurs into one unremarkable mass to use a pertinent analogy.