The Poison Tree – Self-Titled [Album and Concert Review]

by Woody on March 28, 2011

Listening to The Poison Tree elicits a unique sense of d©j  vu. Although the precise cause of this feeling is difficult to articulate, it is entirely evident that the band has created one of the most beautiful albums in recent memory.

The Poison Tree is the latest project of former King of France front man, Steve Salett, and an assortment of musicians from his Saltlands music collective in Brooklyn. The resulting self-titled LP is a seamless exploration of love, life, and the human condition. From the opening track, Saletts warm baritone vocals wrap the listener in an auditory embrace that is not relinquished until the albums concluding notes. Along the way, acoustic guitar, strings, and subtle harmonies, provide a gorgeous background. The striking combination of these elements is perhaps most apparent on “My Only Friend”, an eerie song that speaks of wounded pride.

Earlier in the week, as winter tried to deny the onset of spring with another onslaught of snow and slush, The Poison Tree crossed into Manhattan to warm a star-studded audience at Joes Pub with its halcyon sound. The bands brilliant 13-song set focused on offerings from the LP, but also included a King of France song, and a few new tunes. Throughout the night, Salett was joined by different musicians including a trumpet player who contributed his part on “Welcome to the Neighborhood” and “Caught” from his table in the audience.

The aforementioned feeling of d©j  vu will undoubtedly subside as my experiences with The Poison Tree move from a false sense of familiarity to actual reality. However, the pleasure that this album brings is unlikely to be as ephemeral.

The Poison Tree – Never Know Me

The Poison Tree – My Only Friend (set to a famous scene in the Orson Welles movie Touch of Evil)

The Poison Tree – “My Only Friend”; Touch of Evil (1958) from Pierre Bonnenuit on Vimeo.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve McCoy March 28, 2011 at 8:43 pm

No joke. I hope this album gets some buzz because it’s rich. Easily one of my favorites of the year so far.

Mangum March 28, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Beautiful, honest, clear record. A true album, meant to be heard as a whole. Huzzah huzzah huzzah!

Danny March 29, 2011 at 7:17 am

I have never heard of this band before, but this song is beautiful. I might have to see if i can find this album in the UK.

Woody March 29, 2011 at 7:19 am

Nice review. I need to dig back into that album. That video is probably my favorite of the year so far.

Pablohoney March 29, 2011 at 9:10 am

“my only friend” is one of those songs you can set to repeat and waste away an afternoon, with your feet slung up on a table and a jug of wine at your side, as the sun creeps across the oval sky.

nice review.

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