Trees Above Mandalay “Growing Pains” EP Review

Trees Above Mandalay are a unique group of Jersey boys to say the least. Their sound is something like Fall Out Boy meets Kings of Leon meets Mayday Parade meets Dance Gavin Dance. This five piece pop rock band’s quirky style of mixing it up gives fans of many different genres a chance to enjoy these talented musicians. Trees Above Mandalay announced the release of their album, Growing Pains, set to drop February 19th, 2013.
Growing Pains is an album all about the trials and tribulations of growing up. The record opens with the song “Everything I Wish I Didn’t Know”, and it definitely does a great job of setting the tone for the rest of the album. The song starts off with a fairly heavy sound, but gradually shifts into the more familiar pop rock sound. The guitar and the bass on this track are first-class, and the chorus is absolutely infectious. The next track is their featured single, “I’m Leading, You’re Biting”. The vocals on this song are incredible. “I’m Leading, You’re Biting” has a different sound from the typical pop rock fare, but the combination of heavy guitar riffs and clean drumming make the song unique in the best possible way. Growing Pains covers some very sentimental, relatable, poignant themes, such as growing up, friendship, moving on, and loss. “Non Compos Mentis”, one of the more angst-filled songs off the record, touches on these subjects. This track contains some of the best instrumental work out of the whole album. The record closes with the song, “As Easy As Breathing”, which wraps up Growing Pains in a beautiful package. The song features an ethereal, ambient string section, which was very enjoyable and soothing. The track has a striking softness that the vocals, drums, and guitars all cater to perfectly.
Growing Pains is proof that Trees Above Mandalay do not fit under the typical definition of pop rock. This genre-defying record was a pleasure to listen to, and made me eager for more. Their refusal to tie themselves to one songwriting formula will definitely help Trees Above Mandalay stand out, and I’m excited to see these guys go forward.
-Lauren L.
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