The Story and The Song
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2007 1 Apr
- The Forward
- White Lines & Red Lights
- The Way She Feels
- The Greatest of These (A Little Love)
- A Time for Yohe
- She Is …
- The Fort
- You Cry a Tear to Start a River
When a band barely out of high school releases their debut album just two years after forming, you simply hope for competence and potential. Orlando, Florida's Between the Trees offers much more than expected with The Story and The Song, most notably skills and maturity. Even the band name reflects depth, representing the endpoints of human existence and what we do with the time given.
You'll first notice the sing-along anthems, with melodic modern rock that's neither too emo or indie. Lead singer Ryan Kirkland sounds like the missing link between The Cure's Robert Smith and Anberlin's Stephen Christian, and the same could be said of their respective bands. Polished and hook-laden, the sound also evokes Mae by relying on keyboards as much as guitars. And it's commendable that every song varies enough in sound and character to sound distinctive. Listening to the first and last songs alone, it's hard to believe they're from the same band, much less their debut effort.
More stunning is the band's songwriting scope. Lead single "White Lines & Red Lights" is a conventional love song, but "She Is …" is sincerely dedicated to Mom. "The Forward" is a fluffy rocker written with the audience in mind: "Before we were in your ears, we were praying for the crowd." And "Fairweather" touches on prayer life by noting we only cry out when things go wrong.
But the coup de grace is the trilogy of "The Way She Feels," "A Time for Yohe," and "You Cry a Tear to Start a River," all inspired by a girl who overcame cutting and depression by embracing the love of Jesus. Her powerful story is detailed further in the liner notes, as well as the To Write Love on Her Arms website, a non-profit organization sparked by these songs to assist others with similar struggles. To which I can only say, bravo to Between the Trees for a brave and uplifting debut that impressively engages listeners on multiple levels.