We are thrilled to be bringing you a review of Youngtree & The Blooms self-titled album today. Youngtree & The Blooms are fronted by singer-songwriter, Peter William Smith. We here at the Send Me Your Ears studio have picked three tracks from this stunning Canadian band. We urge you to take a listen to this highly creative Indie Folk/Americana artist. The entire album is an absolute joy to behold, but today, we draw your attention to the three lead tracks with the expectation that you’ll fall in love and listen to more.
Following in the footsteps of names like Ron Hynes, Blue Rodeo and most definitely holding his own against many similar and current East Coast artists, Youngtree and The Blooms have a truly captivating sound.
Seas Change is an epic singer-songwriter folk tale. At 6 1/2 minutes long it may be too long for commercial air play, but we have no doubt that this will receive attention from stations in Newfoundland and across the East Coast. The support they give to their own musicians is truly inspiring.
Seas Change starts with a simple acoustic strummed guitar and Peter’s gorgeous warm and rich vocals – clear and present in the mix. An electric guitar brings in the full band and you’re immediately taken to a whole new level. This is a positively euphoric sound and a perfect example of quality East Coast music.
The rise and fall in this track is done extremely well, and despite being a lengthy track, there was no point at which we lost interest for a second.
The harmonic notes on the guitar used as incidentals is an inspired touch and the huge sing along choruses with female harmonies bring this song into something we could imagine being sung all across the East Coast at kitchen parties!
We loved the big, wailing, euphoric guitar solo and the drop down afterwards that really highlights Peter’s close and intimate storytelling style of vocals.
From a production perspective, we felt that a boost around 70Hz would bring the thump of the kick drum up a little. Also, there is a slight boominess in both the snare and the lead vocal track around 150-160Hz so a careful surgical cut here on this channels would help bring that under control. To our ears we felt the track could benefit from a little more brightness which could be achieved with a small but wide boost across the high mids and highs centred around 7kHz. We also felt that the track could use a little more stereo to help give the instruments more space. This can be achieved with a basic stereo plug-in that most DAWs have available.
The double chorus to end that builds into a huge and anthemic violin solo swept us along in a wash of positivity. When the electric guitar returns to the mix and riffs off the violin, it is true magic.
I’m Not That Any More
I’m Not That is a glorious 6/8 song that had us all nodding our heads immediately. Another track with stunning rise and fall, and the violin incidentals in this track are world class. Peter’s vocals leaning just a touch in style towards Mike Scott (Waterboys), this is the story of a man who is changing direction musically and following his own true path. We loved the lyric “told me I should write songs about trucks, girls and beer.”
I’m Not That has some wonderful subtle harmonies and layered vocals. There’s a beautiful change of pace into the middle 8 that then leads into a harmonica solo and then a guitar solo with just the right amount of country twang in its tone.
On this track, a boost around 60Hz would fill out the kick drum nicely. We felt that the vocal track could use a dip around 250Hz to reduce the occasional ‘muddy’ tone and another around 500Hz for some boxy sounds. Again, a high mids boost would add to the brightness and presence in the track. Also, same as with “Seas Change”, a little more stereo would help the track shine even further
To the end, the song drops back to just acoustic guitar with occasional incidental fiddle, building back into the chorus. Another solo with harp and guitar leads you to the end. Another wonderful story telling song.
Can’t Be Nothin’ I Ain’t
Our personal favourite was Can’t Be Nothin’ I Ain’t. An absolutely stunning story telling song. We loved the line “fifteen years for my short fuse, fifteen years in government shoes”. It forces the listener to really pay attention and look for more information behind the story.
Can’t Be Nothin’ I Ain’t has a mellow, almost free time feel to it. A huge thick sound from a simple bass line and acoustic guitar with some very distant feeling percussion.
Peter’s voice is panned hard left. The female vocals come in (with a huge and endearing gasp of breath!) panned hard right later in the track and make a great accompaniment. This feels like a really very gentle Americana/Country song with a touch of the Notting Hillbillies.
Perhaps a song that would work well placed in a TV show or movie. We’d definitely urge Youngtree & The Blooms to search out opportunities for sync for this track. It may be a very specific story, but it has so much warmth and expression to it, that we feel it could easily be placed.
From a production perspective, we feel that a hi-pass filter around 35-40Hz would help remove some very low rumble from the mix and tidy up the low end a bit. The bass is peaking slightly on the A at 110Hz and the lower of the two congas could use a cut at 180Hz to bring it in line with the higher one. A high mids and highs boost would again bring some extra brightness. We loved the choice to pan the two singers hard left and right. This in our opinion is a really creative and different way to present the song, especially when there are long sections with only one vocalist.
Set Our Course For The Wind, Heaven Ain’t A Lonely Road, I’m Not That Anymore, Can’t Be Nothin’ I Ain’t, Seas Change, Waiting For Us, Aurora, I Watched You Smile, Got Things On My Mind.
This entire album is an absolutely World class winner. We have no doubt that this will gain Youngtree & The Blooms many many new fans across Canada and beyond. We loved every second of it and will be listening on repeat for a long time to come.