In 2000, South African act Tree debuted in the United States as Tree63, a pop/rock band with an uncanny similarity to Delirious? in sound. This Fall, Tree is back with The Life and Times of Absolute Truth, their sophomore release that begins to further develop the band as their own identity with their own sound. The album opens with anthemic "The Glorious Ones," an edgier approach for the trio. But the feel changes with the peppy pop number "All Hands," a cheery and quickly monotonous song that just doesn't seem to fit on the record. "No Words" picks up where "Glorious" left off, a catchy worship tune that proclaims, "There are no words I can say / There is no music I could play / There is no song I could sing / to tell of all the love You bring..."
"All Because of You" is a rock ballad where John Ellis uses a vocal style painfully reminiscent of Cold Play for the chorus which quickly becomes exhausted. "Anxious Seat" is a fun and rousing song of encouragement of relief only found in Christ. "Here of All Places" sees Ellis stretching his vocals in another direction which works very well for this melodic rock track. "Be All End All" returns back to the upbeat monotony as "Anxious Seat," even in sounding relatively similar. "All About The Change" shares a similar guitar intro as "The Glorious Ones" but follows through as a stronger rock track while "Surprise Surprise" is a decent pop tune, remotely reminiscent of Eager. The album closes appropriately with "How Did I Sleep?" a pop ballad that asks the question of how could we rest without Christ's mercy. The highlight of the album, "How Did I Sleep?" is the strongest cut musically and lyrically. Once again, Tree63's sound works much better in ballad form than the upbeat party tunes.
Tree63's sophomore release The Life And Times of Absolute Truth is a step forward in the growth and evolution of the trio, but still leaves plenty of room for growth into the group they're clearly striving so hard to be.- Review date: 10/20/02, written by John DiBiase
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