Taken By Trees - Other Worlds Album Review
Other Worlds is the third album from Taken By Trees. The band, once considered a side project, is now the main focus of helms woman Victoria Bergsman. Since successfully extracting herself from The Concretes, some six years ago now, where she was lead singer, Victoria has taken her own creation onto ever bigger and better things.
Other Worlds is a very assured record that exhibits the confidence of knowing that the individuality and character displayed within the twelve track set are worthy of that second glance, that ability to turn heads through non-conformity, that self-assured arrogance and swagger of youthful naivety, that couldn't give a f@#k belief that it doesn't matter what you think 'cos I think I sound great. This is pop done with an air of casual cool and unassuming panache.
Through the generally up-beat mix of summer slanted tunes, Taken By Trees transport us in a state of self-medicated happiness into a world of floating weightlessness. Opener 'Horizon' gets the trippy semi-psychedelic sojourn off to a wonderful start. It's as if someone had dropped you through a translucent, gently swirling liquid of high viscosity. You should now be suitably relaxed before the sunshine breaks through on the vaguely Reggae related Dub delights of 'Highest High'. Here is where the embodiment of the entire album is first perfectly captured and expressed. The steel drum sensibility, deep bubbly bass lines and dub mix come together to create an irresistibly chilled out perversion of pop.
Victoria's mesmeric vocal sits atop the cascading soundtrack on 'Dreams' as hand-claps and harmonic guitar flourishes dip in and out and then a sense of sedated euphoria take over on the title track 'Other Worlds'. The sound of bird song gives way to the album's highlight 'Not Like Any Other'. An intermittent and simplistic organ sequence helps enhance this catchy, hook heavy tune. James Blake meets the XX with a Swedish slant on Taken By Trees' most credible chart troubler since their 2009 take on 'Sweet Child O' Mine'. 'Pacific Blue' sees the introduction of an actual steel drum on the rhythmically ripe percussive track before another of the albums many great fusions 'Only You'. Only here can you hear The Cascades' 'Rhythm Of The Rain' in the same mix as The Cure's 'Love Cats' to become something entirely different again.
'80s keyboards take over on the straight up 'Your Place Or Mine'. Disco beats, plus a few horns, some lush strings and the odd bit of glockenspiel pervades the air on 'Large' and we are given a dub delight on instrumental 'Indigo Dub'. Victoria pits her light and breezy vocal against some seriously heavy and fabulously filthy bass line rumblings on 'I Want You'. The mix is adeptly balanced as if pitching light against dark or beauty against beast creating another of Other Worlds highs.
Victoria Bergsman was inspired to write and record Other Worlds after a trip to Hawaii. The inspiration was clearly full of positive energy. Other Worlds is not a perfect example of prime time pop that ticks all (any) of the pre-requisite boxes required to meet a record companies remit or marketing man's manifesto to get it the air play of its other pop by numbers counter parts. However, it is full of creativity and individuality and is loaded with character. The off-beat arrangements, well thought out mixes, crisp light vocals and sanguine charisma of Other Worlds is precisely why it should be heard.