I am very interested in where a band or singer comes from. I think that they are ambassadors of their home, but also I think it at times can show in their music. From the more blatant (The Killers) to a more subtle approach (Trampled by Turtles). When I first listened to The Pines I could sense their home in the music. They are from small town Iowa, but spent some time in southern Arizona before settling as a band in Minneapolis. Listening to the music its easy to pick up on the feeling of open spaces and small towns. This music feels like the north woods of the upper midwest, but also the desert expanses of the southwest. There is a melancholy in the music, and a sadness, but there is also hope.
Over the last two weeks, I think I’ve listened to their most recent album of original material, 2016’s Above The Prairie at least a few dozen times. It is difficult to not listen to the entire album in one sitting its a compelling progression of songs. There are three songs off this record that I cannot get enough of. The first is also the first song on the album “Aerial Ocean”. I love the mix of the very “country” sounding slide guitar, and the very ethereal synthesizer.
The next song is the second song off the album, “There in Spirit”. The song is haunting and reeks of a realistic despair.
The final song is the last song on the album, “Time Dreams”, which features the words and voice of John Trudell, a Native American activist, writer, and actor. There is so much beauty in this song.
I have listened to the other Pines albums on Spotify, but they definitely do not strike me like this one does. That is not to say that they aren’t also amazing.