Just in case the title of Treefight For Sunlight’s debut album A Collection Of Vibrations For Your Skull doesn’t provide enough of a cue as to what this Copenhagen quartet is up to, the record’s overture-like opening track “A Dream Before Sleep” should be a big flashing sign. Aping both the chirpier side of modern rock bands like Grizzly Bear and The Flaming Lips and the trippier side of ’60s sunshine-pop acts like The Free Design and The 5th Dimension, Treefight For Sunlight intends to nudge listeners into a waking reverie, filling heads with images of blooming flowers and shooting stars. A Collection Of Vibrations is a terrific headphone album, building songs from chiming, minimalist piano riffs into playfully layered aural confections.
All that’s holding the record back from being one of the year’s best debuts is that once those layers are peeled away, there’s not much left in terms of actual songwriting. Treefight For Sunlight produce a few knockout tracks: “They Never Did Know” layers choral vocals atop upbeat strumming, then ascends even higher in a double-time coda; “Rain Air” marries a sing-song melody to an ingratiatingly skipping rhythm; and “Facing The Sun” pulls out all the stops in four happy minutes of rich harmonies, swift tempos and resounding vibes. But it’s no mistake that A Collection Of Vibrations is only 10 songs and 33 minutes long. Treefight For Sunlight plays to its strengths, using its fully formed pop songs to prop up its merely pretty atmospheric exercises. Whenever the band can reverse that ratio, it’ll be major.