If there’s one thing to say about Trees Above Mandalay’s new album Growing Pains, it’s range.
Take the song, “Everything I Wish I Didn’t Know.” It’s heavy, fun, and fast-paced, narrated by killer vocal cords. Then, you have “As Easy As Breathing,” whose mellow synthesis makes you do a double take. Next, you hear that voice. With a lead vocalist whose pipes ring familiar of a Patrick Stump/Justin Pierre hybrid baby, you have the unique longing and desperation that an album called Growing Pains needs.
That mixture of familiar riffs and voice embodies exactly what Trees Above Mandalay is, managing to take influences from the greats of modern day rock/pop/punk and created something special all their own. Very often a band can get caught in the same sound and tone within the same album. But on this album, every track has something unique. “I’m Leading, You’re Biting” has the narrative sound of Panic at the Disco but the heavy edge to pick it up and turn it into something clearly different half-way through.
From start to finish, Growing Pains is really an album of surprises. Clearly, though, there is a story-telling, as one might expect, that develops much like the stages of life. Take “We Felt like Astronauts,” a song lyrically filled with the sort of longing locked both in the name of the album and the strain of the vocals: “Do you remember when our eyes were bright?/And no one knew/Things that already changed/Things that already changed…All my friends are getting old/Oh God, no one ever let me know.”
Growing Pains speaks for itself. It offers both the familiar and something a little new to the table of punk-rock. Trees of Mandalay have brought the total eclipse of the aches and pains that come with change, that ever present passenger.
Trees Above Mandalay plan to release Growing Pains on February 19th.<