Ned Evett’s Treehouse is like following a cross-country trek of reckless abandon, each song punctuating truck stops, saloons, and the interstate like a big red dot on a map that you can point to and remember the story that went with the place.
Evett balances thunderous country rock, folk, talking blues, and ballads with hooks that sink in and don’t let go. The material here is varied and rich and the fretless guitar work is a real star here, supporting Evett’s vocals with its own story to tell. Lyrics and melodies float into a stunning coalescence as Evett proves himself a vocal chameleon track by track.
Treehouse is bookended with strong rock songs, burning and unrelenting. The bookends work on a dual level; “Pure Evil” opens the album with a fierce rasp and jaunty guitar, followed by the distorted vocals and syncopated rockabilly of “Falling in Line.” “Dead on a Saturday Night” is the penultimate track and mirror reflection of “Evil,” but ups the ante with its dark twist on 50’s-style rock and roll. Evett closes with the feverish “Don’t Despair,” the guitar leading the other instrumentals on a musical rampage.
“Sayanora Serande” has a lilting psychedelic melody and is unforgettable, the refrain being one of the catchiest earworms in existence. “Mars River Delta 2128” comes with a long opener before segueing into a hunted-man tale. “Mars” leads to two of Treehouse’s most tender tracks, the head-bobbing “Bend Me” and the lush title track.
“Say Goodbye for Both of Us,” is a haunting break-up tune, inflected with organs and a bridge with sonic texturing to the vocals that is like an out-of-body experience. Paired with “Just About Over This Time,” the other lithe and swaying end-of-relationship track, break-up songs on Treehouse are almost transcendental and heavy all at once. “Getting Over Someone Too” is a gorgeous cowboy ballad, with Evett dealing out deep vocals a la Tex Ritter and helps form a relationship narrative trifecta.
Evett’s trick here is lulling the listener in with his seemingly light lyrics before knocking them on their feet at the bridge or end of a track; “Why Can’t I Believe,” “Break My Fall,” and “Nightmare and a Dream Come True” and many other songs pull you in before opening up into fun, unexpected surprises.
Armed with his gorgeous glass fretless, Ned Evett’s Treehouse is drenched with multi-faceted country sounds, different stories all a part of this generous 14 track helping. Raw, radiant, and an incredible technical feat, Treehouse is a striking effort that lingers well after you’ve listened.