Hearing Trees – “Dear Sahara, 3.5/5

‘Toban Turntable – Local indie rock and pop reviewed

Courtesy of Hearing Trees

Winnipeg band Hearing Trees offers up something a little different to the local music scene. The strong lyricism and musical sensitivity that’s prominent on their new EP is telling of a group that is truly beginning to hit their stride as an ensemble.

Hearing Trees is touring Western Canada promoting their second EP, Dear Sahara, which was released last month. Dear Sahara features four songs linked together by their forward-driving but overall understated sound.

The first track is catchy and upbeat, with a chorus that has you singing along before the end of your first listen. It’s easy to see why “Sahara” is the opening song – the tune has a great energy and the lyrics create fleeting but rich images.

“Magnetic Moment” begins with a contrastingly mellow and introspective introduction that slowly builds. Hearing Trees frontman and lyricist Graham Hnatiuk showcases his proficiency at spoken word on this track, performing two verses in a style closer to that than singing. The lyrics sound like a stream of thought during these sections, flowing rhythmically together on the instrumental backdrop.

The final song, “Among Giants,” has a more brooding and dramatic feel with relentless guitar lines and a heavier drum presence.  In general, “Among Giants” gives the strongest rock and roll vibe of the four tracks on the EP, featuring guitar and drum solos our ears are trained to expect from a rock group.

The EP works well; the tracks are similar musically and together create a coherent whole.  More stylistic and vocal exploration would be welcome, but overall the EP shows Hearing Trees’s maturing voice and their potential for future works.

What really resonates throughout this sophomore release is the artistic lyrics, which weave together an exploration of doubt, admiration, uncertainty, and other experiences and emotions.

If you want to check out this up-and-coming local group live, they’re scheduled to play at the West End Cultural Centre on Oct. 2.