Andrew Sisk: Treelines
The title of Andrew Sisk’s new album, Treelines, gives a hint of what is to come. It’s not just that the opening track shares the title, but that many of the songs describe and create scenery in your mind. Overall, this is a calm record featuring poetic lyrics matched with smooth-flowing music. ‘Soothing’ is one of the best words to describe the album as a whole. This is a solo debut for Sisk, a Canadian singer-songwriter-musician, who is formerly of the band Share. Members of other Canadian indie bands such as Wintersleep and Ermine are featured on the album playing lap steel, drums, and bass.
Treelines provides descriptions of landscapes, both through sounds and lyrics. “Pastoral,” sort of an ambient interlude in the middle of the album, evokes the same feelings as pastoral poetry. The use of the electric piano in that song brings to mind images of dawn in a forest or entering an open field. “Clearing,” another ambient instrumental piece featuring a distorted electric piano, has static that mimics the sound of waves washing onto a shore. The lyrics in “History” and “Half Moon” paint vivid images of the rural landscape Sisk sings about.
Sisk’s vocals are beautiful and feel genuine. His soothing voice conveys the emotions of a schedule-challenged relationship in “Fulltime” but easily change to provide the peppy background “oooh” in “Paused.” The haunting background vocals in “Fulltime” are vaguely reminiscent of those in The Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?” though that is where the similarities between the songs end.
My only minor complaint about the album is how abruptly two of the songs end. Sisk’s lyrics have a steady flow except for at the very end of “I Whispered It.” The song seems to drop off mid-sentence; my brain waits for the second half of that line every time I listen to it. “Paused” is unlike the other songs on the album in that it is more up-tempo and has a catchy beat, but also in that while the other songs tend to fade out, this one comes to an abrupt, complete stop. The only reason these endings stand out is because the rest of the album is so soothing and keeps a continuous flow, it seems unnatural to have such a sharp cut. As you can tell, if a couple of sharp endings are the worst thing to mention about an album, the album is worth checking out.
MP3: Andrew Sisk “Fulltime”
Andrew Sisk: Treelines