‘But the centre of whose world?’ I ask of Treehouse’s new release Centre of Their World. Taken negatively it’s a nod to modern-day narcissism. I’d like to think it beckons more toward Treehouse’s own aesthetic world. That music, in it’s utopian ideal, is a world of its own making and your band is that warm marshmallowy centre. It’s an intuitive world. It’s the nicest thing in the actual world.
Treehouse are Hobart three-piece Cal, Jon and Will and they have a classic three-piece line-up. If rock music and it’s jangle manifestations are the genre, then the guitar is the instrument which is forever being called-out for running out of ideas. Too passé, they say. Too phallic, they quip. And yet here are Treehouse showing us that our knee-jerk doom-and-gloom over rock music is as unwarranted as it is tiring.
Released by Oz-institution Vacant Valley the album’s first single ‘She’s A Mystic’ seeped onto our Facebook feeds at the beggining of this year and enough great things have already been said that I needn’t rehash.Yet despite Treehouse feeling validated in releasing ‘She’s A Mystic’ as the album forerunner, ‘Hammer On The Door’ is the album’s actual pinnacle with its sweetness and pliancy, its aggressiveness and visceral nature.
It has one of the most identifiable and subtly grand guitar riffs I’ve heard from a local Australian band in a long time. It’s such a fucking seamlessly building song that does all the right things in all the right places. Considering this, it’s a miracle the song doesn’t dwindle into cliche, but teeters on the highs and drops we’d expect while adding an indecipherable something that keeps us listening. Maybe it’s in the production, which is wonderfully normal in it’s disregard for lavishness (which often just turns all rock/punk songs to plastic anyway).
In many ways Treehouse is Australian in the way that ACDC, The Church, Go Betweens and Powderfinger are Australian. This is a horribly abstract thing to say because Treehouse aren’t actually similar to any of these bands and yet there’s a feeling of geographical locality that signals that these songs could not have come from anywhere else.
Ultimately Centre of Their World heralds the in-between stance of much music at the moment; it doesn’t exactly try to change the social contract and it isn’t aesthetically wild but nor does it aim to amuse, please or entertain. Treehouse are certainly a band of their time. What Centre of Their World offers is something many local bands could use a lesson in: thoughtful songs rather than boring dribble melodies, horribly painful pastiche or a reliance on tedious spectacle. While Treehouse of course repeat the jangle-tropes and compositional build-ups we’ve heard before, this is a mute point because they do so in such a way that rejects a boring rehash of the past and doesn’t shame or tinge the memory of the old.
Centre of Their World is out now on Vacant Valley with a few limited edition cassettes on the horizon.