The crux of Träd Gräs och Stenar was always the immediacy of the songs, the feeling that the magic happened in the studio (or field) as the players worked parts off of one another finding the spark that threw drone against groove and ignited the heart of the song. To that end the magic comes from those who are present and accounted for in the tessellation of Träd. The band has evolved over the years, moving from Pärson Sound to International Harvester, before stopping at Träd Gräs och Stenar. They’ve swapped in all manner of Swedish psych legends – Bo Anders Persson, Thomas Gartz (who was also in the great Mecki Mark Men) – and now with a move to become simply Träden, the band drops out many of the legacy players and picks up a young(er) crew to keep on the tradition. ‘Round about the last album they picked up Reine Fiske of Dungen fame, who remains here, and now they snag another current young swede with Hanna Östergren (Hills) filling in for the departed Gartz.
The name shift seem appropriate given the lineup shuffle. Only Jakob Sjöholm remains from the original crew, and his songwriting is as sharp as ever. The newer members, though, find themselves pulling up to the task. Östergren has some big sticks to fill, but as her tenure in Hills would attest, she’s more than up to the task. The new Träden feels most at home stretching out and most tracks are pushing past the nine minute mark with jams to spare. The opener, “När Lingon Mognar (Lingonberries Forever)” is muscular and methodical, as hefty a cut as TGoS would pull from their catalog, but the band keeps to the genre shirking ethos that’s done the band well for decades. They burn through prog forests only to pop up in folk fields. They stomp through riffs and pull the air out of the studio for a Kosmiche float that’s wrapped in the stars. They wax poetic then skirt vocals altogether.
It seems a new name can’t fight the traditions of Träd Gräs och Stenar, the band is just as much a bundle of contradictions as they’ve ever been. The new players may tighten up the approach a bit, but they don’t shave the shag off of one of psych’s longest running institutions. Completists will no doubt have already lined their shelves with the latest in an exhaustive catalog, but new listeners transitioning from modern movers like Hills, The Myrrors, or Kikagaku Moyo might find this an intiguing entry point. Its not the full Träd Gräs och Stenar show, but its cliff’s notes and the next chapter rolled into one.
Support the artist. Buy it HERE.