Treepeople – Guilt Regret Embarrassment – K
Treepeople were a band formed in Idaho. They shared members with State of Confusion and The Halo Benders and released material between 1989 and 1994. Upon their split, some of the members went on to form Built To Spill, amongst a large pile of other bands, including but not limited to Christ on a Crutch. Heavypink, and Violent Green.
Their debut LP, “Guilt Regret Embarrassment,” was originally released in 1991 on the Toxic Shock label, and saw reissues on the K Records label. I have the vinyl K Records edition.
So let’s get the obvious out of the way. I’m not part of the enlightened group who experienced Built to Spill. And I call myself a music reviewer? Shocking, I know. Yes, I’ve heard a few tracks here and there but nothing frequent enough to rope me in (yet). Thus, after reading up on Treepeople and the literal mountain of admiration for Doug Martsch, my curiosity has been peaked and I am sniffing out tracks. So worry not, I’ll figure out why I missed the boat soon enough.
Now, onto the actual review.
As aforementioned, this is the band’s debut LP, following on the heels of a few singles. Before I held the album in my paws, I did a lot of reading on the group. A lot of folks had said that this is the band’s “Bleach” in the sense that this was just a wild sign of things to come, much like how “Bleach” was the tip of the iceberg for Nirvana. And when I finally was spinning this LP for the first time almost ten years later, I can see what they meant.
Treepeople’s sound on this album is a fiery mixture of indie rock, punk, alternative rock, grunge and psyche. The lyrics are stunningly poetic and captivating, the guitar arrangements are brilliant and awesome, the compositions are just mind blowing and even the production is top notch. Heck, there are even tempo changes on some tracks. Honestly, that was a surprise for me and clued me in on the brilliance here. And by far, they have one of the best David Bowie covers I’ve heard in ages on this LP.
I think what will elave a lasting impression on me after my first listen is just how timeless this album feels. Had I not already known this was released back in ’91, I don’t think I would have guessed. It feels and sounds rather current despite being released over twenty years ago; not one note or line sounds dated. Dare I say that it almost feels progressive? Seriously, this is just stellar and stunning. How the hell did I not get this album years ago? Oh, right, coz no one I knew had heard of them (except for you, Megan Berryoung… you knew) and none of the shops carried any of their material when I was growing up.
So, should you get this album? Hell yes! This is the best indie rock from the early 90s, hands down, that still sounds like it could have come out today. And if this is a sign of things to come, then I’m in for some killer stuff (so someone send me their 2nd LP!). And, if it wasn’t for Treepeople, I don’t think I would have ever really tuned into Built To Spill nor would I have ever made the connection that both bands shared the same musical guru.
(solid 5 out of 5) —- Big Thanks to K Records for sending this one my way!