London-based soulful, country rock outfit Treetop Flyers weave blissful, sixties-tinged west coast Americana with a British rock ’n’ roll swagger. Their fourth album comes out in the summer 2020 - right in time for the Static Roots Festival 2020!
2018 - biography:
"London soulful country rock outfit Treetop Flyers return with their eponymous third album, due out on 24 August via Loose. Weaving blissful 60’s tinged West Coast Americana with a British rock’n’roll swagger, the album oozes with soulfulness, thanks to singer Reid Morrison’s rich, warm vocals, stunning close harmonies and the atmospheric warble of a Mellotron. The sound is boosted by the addition of a new groove-based rhythm section and just the right amount of triumphant, well-judged saxophone.
The band was originally formed by Reid Morrison, Laurie Sherman and Sam Beer, who met whilst playing in other projects as part of the West London folk scene. Although their name, Treetop Flyers, will always be linked to the Stephen Stills song, they settled on it as they all felt like outsiders but have stuck together ever since, through line-up and life changes. They have most recently been joined by Rupert Shreeve on drums, who has added another dimension to their style and took the songs in uncharted directions that were previously out of reach. On the new record they are also joined by saxophonist Geoff Thomas Widdowson from Loose label mates Danny and The Champions Of The World.
Treetop Flyers follows the band’s two previous critically acclaimed albums, their debut The Mountain Moves from 2013, which was praised by The Guardian who wrote that it, “effortlessly captures the spirit of late-1960s west coast pop-rock: the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young,” as well as Q, who wrote that they, “share with Midlake custody of a brood of Buckingham/Nicks-era Fleetwood Mac licks, likewise the Mac’s mood of unrequited yearning.” Their second album Palomino, from 2016 was praised by Uncut, who called it, “a fittingly great-sounding record, with the band magically tight and melodically assured as they play songs bathed in an evocative ’70s West Coast glow, while drawing on influences including outlaw country, soul and Nigerian psych.”
Whereas previous albums had been recorded either at their own SOUP studios in London (where Sam works) or further afield in studios in Malibu and New York, this time round they headed to The Cube in Stoke Newington. A DIY studio and rehearsal space, it backs on to the sanding workshop of the London picture framers and fellow musicians BRIDER & BULL (The Wave Pictures, Surfing Magazines). They found that every time they set up for a recording session they would have to swab down the tape machine and sections of their equipment with contact cleaner to get rid of the sawdust. Thankfully, nothing exploded or caught fire and they eventually came out with something honest and fun. As Reid explains; “Stripping back the recording process and working within the limitations of our equipment and recording knowledge has created what we believe to be our most true to form record and has breathed new life into our music, which is one of the main reasons we have decide to simply call the album Treetop Flyers as we believe it represents a fresh start for the band.”
As a result the album has a more organic and open feel. It opens with the glorious spacious sounds of “Fleadrops”, the first instrumental track they have ever recorded, which signals the band’s new sense of direction and optimism. It is followed swiftly by the single “Sweet Greens & Blues”, which was initially recorded for Palomino, but never really quite came together until the new drummer came on board and they were able to capture the feel of the song that they had been searching for.
“Needle” is based around a looped section at the end of a record about not wanting a moment to end. As Reid explains; “I had just got out the shower and I was listening to an old Ted Hawkins record someone bought me. I lost track of what I was doing and heard this noise. I couldn’t work out what it was but it sounded like the best drum sound I’d ever heard… with the old school hiss and everything. I thought my flatmates were playing a tune or something. I then remembered I had put the record on and the record had reached the end but had this perfect loop.”
This record also sees Sam taking lead vocal on a few of the songs, including “Kooky Clothes”, which revels in the intricate guitar interplay that increases in intensity towards the end of the song. The track “I Knew I’d Find You” features a heartfelt duet between Sam and Reid, the meaning of the song can be interpreted in various ways – it could be two lovers discovering each other or someone on a solo journey of self-discovery.
Feeling more comfortable in themselves than they have in a long time, Treetop Flyers are a band with a new lease of life and a new groove in their step. The soulful melancholy is still bubbling under the surface but this album feels altogether more triumphant, looking to the future with hope and optimism. There’s also a sense of exploration on this record, where things they had experimented with in their live show have crossed over to the tape machine, catapulting their sound to another level."
“this stunning LP is much more than a tribute to the old heroes and ideals: Treetop Flyers transport the spirit of yesteryear into the present with amazing ease.”
8/10 - CLASSIC ROCK GERMANY
“effortlessly soulful country rock that reminds you of Van Morrison’s early 70s output”
★★★★ SCOTTISH DAILY EXPRESS
“a bold, vivid return, one that finds Treetop Flyers pushing themselves further and further”
“As good as their last two releases have been, they’ve taken it to another level for this one, adding such an emotional depth to affairs that the whole thing is really quite breathtaking…”
“At this rate, Treetop Flyers ought to be household names by the end of the year. The general public has a lot of catching up to do. I kind of envy them for that.”
8/10 - GOD IS IN THE TV
“the most confident that Treetop Flyers have sounded in themselves… dreamy, mellow 60s-style melodies interspersed with dashings of psychedelia… it isn’t inconceivable that this latest offering from Treetop Flyers could see them finally gain some proper mainstream recognition.”
8/10 - AMERICANA UK
“the album’s exceptional allure is undeniably its great diversity of styles”
★★★★ - THE UPCOMING
“A musically erudite album, one that highlights all that is superb in this band.”
8.5/10 - LIVERPOOL SOUND AND VISION
“A joyful, exquisite listen reimagining Steely Dan jamming with My Morning Jacket. Tremendous”
GET INTO THIS
“It’s always pleasing to see country rock music spread its wings beyond North America, and with ‘Needle’ the Treetop Flyers not only do that, they do so with grace, style and plenty of natural feeling. This is one very special song, the soulful vibes are everywhere, I am mightily impressed!”
“glorious 60s tinged West Coast Americana with a British twist. With warm, rich harmonies, and a summery groove, the song oozes soulfulness.”
SONG OF THE DAY – Sweet Greens & Blues
“this is the assured sound of a band that has grown into itself and with the certainty that it can carry its audience with it and build an even bigger following on the journey.”
“Treetop Flyers manage to span the musical geographic spectrum from Old London Town to Laurel Canyon, with a touch of Nashville and New Orleans thrown in for good measure. Since being tabbed as the darlings of the Glastonbury Festival in 2011, the road to success has been slow but deliberate for Treetop Flyers. The pace of that appreciation should pick up considerably with the new recording. There is something here for almost everyone to like, regardless of your musical (or geographic) tastes.”
9/10 - SOUNDBLAB
“With this release, Treetop Flyers could soon be enjoying the widespread appeal that this music deserves”
“it is clear that Reid Morrison has one of the best voices in music today – any genre – anywhere – full stop.
There are few certainties in life – attending a Treetop Flyers gig and leaving with a joyous feeling of euphoria is one… A quality release from a quality group of musicians which builds on the very solid foundations that they have laid and elevates them to a higher level still.”
“Lead singer Reid Morrison’s vocals sit somewhere between soul greats like Dobie Gray of Drift Away fame and new kid on the block Michael Kiwanuka… Treetop Flyers have created a set of eminently listenable tunes, harking back to rock’s golden period.”
“All rather marvellous and a rather wonderful album”
“an impressive, tender and most listenable album”
“Treetop Flyers have bounded back on to the scene with an assured, accomplished third album. Old influences and new beginnings have resulted in a unified album of West Coast rock with a West London edge, cut with country influences, a celebratory groove, and irrepressible heart and soul.”
“Third time really was a charm for the Treeptops. The sun has shone on everything they have done here.”
“This eponymous LP is a confident, polished affair that reeks of crossover potential”
“The result remains Treetop Flyers, but an improved version”
COUNTRY MUSIC MAG
“Treetop Flyers blow the crowd away with an astonishing mix of gorgeous songs, demonstrating how much they have grown as a band since their 2013 debut album The Mountain Moves.”
★★★★★ - THE UPCOMING
“It’s undeniable that they are pushing into wider realms than in their early material and sounding the more exciting for doing so.”