Label: Trash Aesthetics Release date: 21/06/10 Link: Myspace Alt folk has had a renaissance period recently, from the genre shifting Lambchop to Jim White’s trade in psychfolk to country and Richmond Fontaine’s slow, wandering fingerpicked songs. It is the latter creed that the much lauded Treecreeper belong to if you have never heard them before – gentle but firm alt folk driven through with very personal lyrics and a certain charm. Having said that, while Juniper definitely borrows from the country rock ethics, Treecreeper themselves are British and this pokes through in a very welcome way. Opening with 'Last Days', a song that begins coated in the sort of rustic beauty associated with drinking cider in the sun, before opening up into a massive chorus that very nearly pushes through into the warming euphoria associated with the likes of Gold era Ryan Adams or The Low Anthem, but drops slightly short, and I have to say, to their credit. Leaving it just off, just a bit too much feedback left on the guitars, not quite a high enough production value gives it the charm that so few bands have at the moment. The same occurs through the next track, 'Autumn', another fantastically built up harmonious song, this time with a bit more of an early Springsteen feel to it, or maybe a Danko Grateful Dead song slowed down a bit and without the banjos. In my opinion, if the guitars gleamed in this, we may step back and say “wow”, but it would lose an essential part of itself. A major point in listening to these songs is that the feel so homely, so welcome. No, these tracks aren’t perfect, but feel so much more personal because of that. After these more rock influenced tracks, we are brought into the slower side and the side that perhaps allows Will Burns to release a few of his more personal daemons onto the record. While 'Bird Artist' is fascinating, it is more of a throwback to some of their more country styling – not so much in the music itself but in the lyrics, a very introspective tale and one that can get tiring and depressing after a while. It is a good song, but it has to be stuck with for fear of losing it. This follows into 'Recede', a meandering rock song that brings to mind Givegoods and more of an Australian feel; it sounds more influenced by The Puddle and The Lemonheads’ slower stuff than their more usual folk, before leading into 'Crossing', a brief instrumental that brings to mind the talent of C. Joynes’ classical records. 'Out Here' is another slower one, in the same vein as 'Bird Artist', and starts to press the patience of the listener. It is not a bad song but it follows the same format and it takes a large effort to get through it without switching off. After this, 'Cascade' rolls in, a slowed down folk song that is very easy to completely relax to, a gentle lulling song that begs for you to just close your eyes and stop what you are doing. Finally, we reach 'November 23rd', a stomping song with a slow, fuzzy sound that builds up nicely but never reaches the huge crescendo it promised. I can’t see them getting Rough Trade Album Of The Week again as they did with their first album, but this is still a good effort that just needs to take a bit of time and find what it wants to explore. Photobucket