HELD BY TREES_Solace_COVER.jpg
HELD BY TREES
Solace
(2022 - Tweed Jacket Music label and distributed by Nova/Plastic Head Distribution - UK)

https://mellotone.net/products/held-by-trees-pre-order

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUdrAXbkAIU

 A prized tribute to Mark Hollis (Talk Talk vocalist gone way too soon) and his one of a kind brave approach to what was once pop, then moved to a deep spiritual journey, that made not only previous fans get standing hairs on the back of their necks, but an entirely new population of needy listeners attracted to this early post rock, slow core, and evocative territory of a unique ambient hazy black hole. That or some place not yet fully found.  All instrumental but potent with every ounce of human possibility  Obviously void of Mark or someone who could come close to his vocals, the sound still has the undertow of Hollis and friends. Perhaps they should have called on Jonathan Meiburg (Shearwater, Okkervil River, Loma, Blue Water White Death, and more hidden treasures) who is a dead ringer for Hollis. But that trivial complaint is quickly overlooked once the listener gets engulfed into the height below instrumental stratosphere of this beauty of a project by led by  David Joseph. Of course, in a world of polar opposites, negative or positive wishes make no difference. Thus, enjoy a most respected and skilled debut from Held By Trees. All eight songs/38:32 moments of it.

This is a gathering of many musicians,. close to the theme of how the last couple of Talk Talk albums were put together, having others come in and improvise on basic tracks already laid down and established. The credits are long but potent. Included are former Hollis and Talk Talk members.  
 
      Acoustic Guitar – Eric Bibb (tracks: 4, 7)
      Bass Guitar, Double Bass – Simon Edwards (tracks: 4, 6, 8)
     Cello – Mary Apperley (tracks: 1, 6 to 8)
     Drums, Percussion – Martin Ditcham (tracks: 2, 3, 6 to 8)
     Electric Organ [Hammond] – Steve Smith (tracks: 3)
    Electric Piano [Wurlitzer], Electric Organ [Hammond] – Grant Howard (tracks: 8)
    Engineer [Chief Recording Engineer] – Steve Smith* (tracks: 1 to 3, 6 to 8)
    Flute, Clarinet – Andy Panayi (2) (tracks: 1, 2, 8)
    Guitar – David Knopfler, Justin Kniest (tracks: 4), Robbie McIntosh (tracks: 2, 7, 8), Tim Renwick (tracks: 6)
    Guitar [Bowed] – Chris Mears (tracks: 2)
    Guitar, Piano, Harmonium, Kalimba, Field Recording, Written-By, Producer – David Joseph (10)
    Management – Bill Brightley
   Mastered By – Denis Blackham
   Mixed By – David Lynch* (tracks: 2, 7), Phill Brown (tracks: 3 to 6, 8), Steve Smith* (tracks: 1)
   Painting [Cover] – Nicola Stockley
   Piano – Peter Moon (4) (tracks: 4)
   Piano, Harmonium – Lawrence Pendrous (tracks: 2, 3, 7)
   Saxophone – Mike Smith (tracks: 3, 8)
   Tape [Tape Machine] – David Evans (56) (tracks: 4, 8)
   Trumpet – Gary Alesbrook (tracks: 6 to 8)
   Viola – Oskar Apperley (tracks: 1, 6 to 8)
   Violin – Tristan Apperley (tracks: 1, 6 to 8)
  Artwork [Logo] – James Marsh

The result of 'Solace' is alluring, captivating, and ultimately triumphant in all aspects. Perhaps too short for most appetites, it makes an impression and keeps its intent. It also leaves room for more of the same exploration and atmospheric post ambient of this sort. Sweet to the ears of later Talk Talk's spiritual endeavors. No doubt Mark Hollis (RIP) would be proud and honored. A victory for beautiful use of space, graciousness, and reverence. RECOMMENDED.

  ©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 6 - 5 - 2022