THE PRAYER TREE: The Prayer Tree CD Hymen Records
The Prayer Tree, take their name from the age-old tradition of placing slips of paper with prayers upon a tree with three metal branches; also apparently a tree that resides in a downtown Tokyo temple that was saved from destruction that people now commune to make offerings.
Bearing that in mind the opening title is ‘Tokyo’, a pleasant, if not completely engaging dronal affair with melancholic vocals.
Things really do get flowing with ‘Ubik’ however, with gentle downbeat melancholic electronics and warm harmonic vocals that flow with their own gentle hypnosis and in whole is more accessible than both the artists previous incarnations in Ab Ovo and NIMP.
This self titled debut is more for those who like their music of a very eclectic nature and this is mainly due to the vocals which gain prominence over the electronics over the course of the album and give ‘The Prayer Tree’ their unique sound; indeed the music almost takes a back step in its simplicity.
An incredibly sparse album that gives way to silence and its own ambience and with that comes genuine moments of beauty and clarity, and that’s the key to this CD; it has to be taken as a whole and not on an individual track by track basis. Sometimes poppy in nature, sometimes ritualistic from a very different angle and in that sense it is extremely original in its own right.
Intriguing and authentic, primordial and genuine The Prayer Tree is avant-garde without delving into self-adoration and whilst not being immensely ground breaking there is just something about this debut that puts a smile on my face, and that’s no mean feat.