Falling Up seems to be going with the flow. With only three albums plus one remix project under their belts, they (or perhaps the label?) figured it's high time they come out with Discover The Trees Again: The Best Of Falling Up, a fifteen track compilation of the band's best alternative and hard rock tunes.
One nice thing about "Best of" albums is they give fans a chance to look over the work of the band and what changes have been made over time. A couple things spring to mind: first is that Joe Kisselburgh, who was on board for the first two albums, is gone, and secondly that comparing the music from their first album, Crashings, to their latest record, Captiva, proves they don't sound too much alike. Leading off a compilation that doesn't appear to be in any particular order is "Broken Heart," an outstanding rock track that is arguably the best song on their debut album. Jumping from 2004 to 2007 is "Hotel Aquarium," an alternative rock song bearing a more organic and melodic sound that songs on Crashings lacked.
"Moonlit" definitely lacked the refinement of future efforts, but the alternative rock song is solid with a great pre-chorus. The "Exit Calypsan (Into The Ice Cave)" remix was unfortunately not the version this writer would have picked because of the original's much more solid composition as opposed to the strange beats and riffs that make up the remix. Their first big hit, "Escalates," perhaps was not the greatest Falling Up feat, but this fast-paced hard tune was a great start. The mainly-piano based medium rock track, "Contact," from Dawn Escapes, allowed frontman Jessy Ribordy's vocals to shine. The spin on the "Searchlights (Indoor Soccer)" remix may not have been as spectacular as the original, but the techno twist on this amazing rock song was still a strong take. The soft alternative hit "Good Morning Planetarium" is not exactly outstanding, however it takes no falls, while "Maps," a rock song with a rough flow to it - while it stands on its own - is surrounded by much better songs on Captiva.
The fan favorite "Bittersweet" combines a good intro, hard rock with a fast moving beat, and an awesome chorus all together. The almost spooky sound of "Islander" is a song which sounds so natural, it's arguably the band's greatest work as Falling Up, blending every instrument together beautifully. Unfortunately, "Symmetry" doesn't have the balance needed to call this a great rock song as it's more edgy and not as smooth as others. On the album Dawn Escapes, while many songs are great standing on their own, many of the rock songs sound too much like the one before it; this is the case with "Flights." The light rock tune "Falling in Love" is perhaps the only worship song that the band has ever done, and while it sounds nice, it isn't really cutting edge with its repetitive chorus. The upbeat "Goodnight Gravity," with a hint of punk to it, reveals Falling Up's ability to extend their musical abilities.
Falling Up never made things easy when it came to their lyrics. Even with a more clear first album, it wasn't always clear what they were singing about. Looking at their cryptic lyrics reveals some good decipherable messages in Discover The Trees Again: The Best Of Falling Up. The singer asks God to help him with his heartache on "Broken Heart" ("Jesus, Garden my broken heart is so in need"). Falling Up acknowledges God on "Hotel Aquarium" ("And as I finally breathe the air /You open up my eyes and now I'm alive"). The message of "Falling In Love" is clear, but even more clear than most songs with good lyrics which are often too vague ("Searchlights," "Maps," and "Escalates"). And what message can we get out of "Islander" ("The creaking of the gate/The spies they hide and wait/ You think I'm deaf to hear/ My cameras everywhere")? It's no secret that Ribordy and Falling Up like secrecy when it comes to their lyrics, as they offer just enough spiritual reference to stay Christian and not too odd. But then again, the bizarre song writing can be a strength in some fans' eyes.
With no new songs, no remixes of old ones, and just fifteen tracks that dedicated fans already have, there is little incentive to get Discover The Trees Again: The Best Of Falling Up, unless of course you are a new fan with an incomplete collection.- Review date: 7/22/08, written by Nathaniel Schexnayder of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: BEC Recordings
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