Between the Trees
The Story and The Song
First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2008, Volume 15, #9
Written by David Gregory Schlegel
Fri September 26, 2008, 06:30 AM CDT
On She Is, Ryan Kirkland, lead singer of Between the Trees, wails, "My mom is my super hero!" In doing so, he essentially leaves the listener to wonder if he is writing a song or a Motherís Day greeting card. Tracks such as this illustrate the crucial flaw and central paradox of the outfitís debut The Story and The Song: Although the music is good, the groupís lyrics are aggravating.
After emerging from the music scene in Orlando, Florida in 2005, Between the Trees received quite a bit of attention from record companies when it sold roughly 6,000 copies of The Story and The Song during its three-month stint with Bonded Records. In an attempt to capitalize on its surge, Universal opted to give the album a wider birth earlier this year.
Many of Between the Treesí lyrics were inspired by a close friend of several members of the band who was caught within a downward spiral of drug addiction and self-mutilation. On The Way She Feels, images, such as blood flowing from a girlís wrist, paint a gruesome portrait of a lost soul in desperate need of help. It may be the most disturbing track on The Story and The Song, but it is nearly impossible to avoid becoming immersed in the tale of a troubled teen. The theme of a womanís road to redemption is reflected in several tracks, and it provides a framework for the tone of the album. If songs like this were the only ones on the collection, then the result might have been a beautifully tragic endeavor. Unfortunately, other weaker cuts almost undermine the good work that Between the Trees put into The Way She Feels.
After all, itís hard to go from a song about a suicidal girl to one about optimistic love. Yet, this juxtaposition is precisely what Between the Trees tries to accomplish when it states "Me and you together/This is getting better" in White Lines and Red Lights. Although a shift such as this might be appropriate for a sequel to Hairspray, it doesnít exactly suit the pervading mood of The Song and The Story. In fact, lyrics consistently are a huge problem for Between the Trees. Either they donít fit, or they simply are understatements of whatever the members of the band are feeling. Tracks such as White Lines and Red Lights, The Forward, and She Is prove to be great examples of this flaw. Each of these demonstrates how a good tune can go flat when the wrong words are put into service.
Overall, The Story and The Song is a decent album, even if several of the tracks make the listener long for the days of grunge rock when lyrics werenít entirely comprehensible. The one question that remains unanswered, though, is why Between the Trees isnít upfront about being a Christian Rock band, such as Creed or Relient K. On its official website almost every member of Between the Trees quotes from the Bible or makes some other reference to God. Although the outfit also makes a similar batch of religious implications in its music and on its album cover, it is never directly stated that Between the Trees is a Christian rock group. Walking this fine line could be a dangerous plan, and in the future, rethinking its route could be to the outfitís advantage.
Of Further Interest...
The Story and The Song is available from
Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2008 The Music Box