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Once We Were Trees

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Album Review

Throughout Once We Were Trees, the sophomore release from the Beachwood Sparks on Sub Pop Records, the SoCal indie cowboys deliver an album displaying astounding musical, songwriting, and repertory growth from their critically acclaimed self-titled debut. Previously, the Beachwood Sparks were labeled a retro extension of the late-'60s country-rock icons Buffalo Springfield and the Flying Burrito Brothers. On Once We Were Trees, the Beachwood Sparks prove themselves as one of the most exciting subgenre leaders in the current indie rock world. The mid-tempo groove of "The Sun Surrounds Me" illustrates the songwriting growth the Sparks have achieved in the last three years, followed by the somewhat campy yet cool "You Take the Gold," which reverts to a simple carefree singalong melody and guitar-driven hook. One notable track is a revamped version of the adult contemporary Sade hit "By Your Side," which stands as the album's "must listen" track.


Formed: 1998 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Los Angeles-based cosmic country-pop combo Beachwood Sparks were formed in mid-1998 by onetime Strictly Ballroom singer/guitarist Chris Gunst, slide guitarist/keyboardist Dave Scher, ex-Further bassist Brent Rademaker, and Lilys drummer Aaron Sperske. Inspired by the pioneering country-rock efforts of West Coast legends like the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Buffalo Springfield, the group issued acclaimed singles for Bomp! ("Desert Skies") and Sub Pop ("Midsummer Daydream") prior to the...
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