mercoledì 11 novembre 2009


Trees comprised only just of nerdy San Diego multi-instrumentalist Dane Conover, released only one album. However, it is the unsung masterpiece not only of its era, but also of its creator’s whole generation.Produced by Los Angeles rock legend Earle Mankey, Sleep Convention comes from a Space Age childhood immersed in the music of the Beach Boys where it was most relevant. Keeping with the times, Trees does it in a way that only the punk explosion could allow.

Working in a synth-pop style virtually unheard in the United States, Conover’s distinct voice earned him a deal with MCA and a bevy of videos produced by Kim Fowley at the time of MTV’s rise. Despite this, success never came his way. These infectious pop songs only crime is perhaps being too brilliant. While the sound in never inaccessible, at least for its time the lyrical themes are heavy enough to outdo even British contemporary Gary Numan. As the title would suggest, sleep is a major theme that works itself into almost every track, using both the connotations of dreaming and escapism. This kind of duality continues in the exploration of technology as a tool that can propel mankind into a bright future, but one that must be approached with great caution. Ever catchy and at times even sugar-coated, Sleep Convention carries a strong apocalyptic air - one approached calmly, yet of course with some fear. Through all of this, Conover maintains the uniquely American in his lyrics.

“Red Car” in particular defines the otherworldly tone of the album in its imagery of the Great American West juxtaposed with both the amazement in and danger of the atomic bomb. “Shock of the New” is the great lost anthem of the New Wave as Conover sings, “mock of the old becomes shock of the new” at a time when future shock was growing only quick enough to still notice it. The epic side two opener “11:00 AM” may literally ground the album’s world in time, but ultimately obliterates the concept not suitable for Conover’s dark, ethereal world. Following it is “Wildwood” the album’s finest, most mysteriously beautiful song which’s use of noise gives provides Sleep Convention with its most cinematically gorgeous vision. “Delta Sleep” Trees’ psychedelic tribute to the nocturnal experience. Even “No Stranger” flits lyrically between romantic and the dark surrealism of a supernatural thriller.

This is not to say that every track here is not a standout – each one can be let into your heart as readily as the one preceding it. This album will surely keep you hooked for even longer than you will expect upon first listen. Cleverly integrating new technology with more traditional instruments and classic songwriting, Conover beautifully melds the dark synth-pop of the era with the California pop that runs in his blood.


01. Come Back

02. Shock Of The New
03. Delta Sleep
04. No Stranger
05. Midnight In America
06. 11:00 AM
07. Wildwood
08. India
09. Gotta Moon
10. Red Car


1 commento:

  1. 1986 ...Tokyo platform one late evening waiting for a train . As train arrived I spotted a fellow " gaijin " getting in the car next to mine . For some unknown reason I did something I usually didn't do and approached the stranger . Intros were made . Turned out I knew his uncle on Long Island . He invited me over to his tiny apartment on the Odakyu line . We picked up some beers at the convenience store and walked over . He played Sleep Convention for me . We became close friends ...His name ? Dane Conover ( = Trees ) .