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The Story and The Song

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 Apr
The Story and The Song
Sounds like … modern rock somewhere between Anberlin and The Cure, with shades of indie and emo most reminiscent of Mae and elements of The Killers and Scissor Sisters.At a glance … a truly impressive debut that combines a polished modern rock sound with powerful songs inspired by faith, most notably three of them that address the subject of cutting and depression.Track Listing 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.

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