To The Trees is a four-piece synth-rock band from Kitchener-Waterloo that was formed in 2015 by Katelyn Bearinger (vocals/synth), Mike Johnson (guitar), Trevor Martin (keys/vocals), and Jake Bursey (drums/percussion). They describe their music as “driving and atmospheric, with pulsing rhythms and lyrics that explore themes around the authenticity of deeper connection with ourselves and others.” Their first, self-titled studio EP, To The Trees, was released early April of this year.
One of the first impressions To The Trees makes is Bearinger’s beautiful voice, which is refreshingly void of any effects, with a few exceptions throughout the EP such as tracks like “Dissonance.” While I’m not usually crazy about synth-rock, the EP does a decent job of incorporating the “rock” aspect of the pairing.
As such, for me, the best moments of the album are the instrumental and vocal crescendos that are featured in almost every track. Oddly enough, my favourite tracks are the first, “All I Ever Wanted” and the last, “Eclipse” which are less electronic, and more guitar driven with synth accents here and there. The middle of the EP tends to fall more on the side of synth-pop, with stronger, heavier moments riddled throughout.
The second track, “Run From Fire” boasts its own video which features Bearinger rescuing a person in a space suit who seems to have crashed into Earth while she is in her kitchen waiting for water to boil. Once presumably healed by Bearinger, the space-person launches back into space to the tune of the short, cute little guitar outro of the track. While the storyline might be a bit out there” (forgive the pun), the track melds very well with the videography, which is also very well done.
As of earlier this summer, their track “Seasons,” which features one of the more interesting drum tracks and a chorus which reminds us that “Seasons come and go/Reminding us to change/Seasons come and go/They teach us to be brave” can be found as a featured Tune New Music Playlists’ “Canada Cool” and “Indie Future” Spotify playlists, which is a pretty cool feat. All in all, while To The Trees straddles an electronic line that isn’t always in my favour, the EP has some really great moments which display To The Trees’ skillful musicianship and making it accessible for those who might not be totally into synth-rock – and this is more than I can say for a lot of similar bands. However, the brightest light of the EP is by far Bearinger’s voice.
Written By: Jordan Hodgins
*edited by Mike Milito