Photographs by Webmeister Bud

On a sunny Sunday evening, just outside Al Smith’s Studio on Discovery Street, we were greeted by smiles and hugs from Towers and Trees. The band was truly excited for every guest that walked though the door for their “West Coast” album listening party.

Inside, the studio was filled with a small group of family, friends, and Kickstarter backers all anxious to hear the freshly mastered album by Towers and Trees.

Before the captive audience got their first taste of West Coast, Adrian Chalifour sat down with The Zone @ 91-3‘s  Jon Williams for a quick chat about the band, making the record, and being roommates.

“West Coast Man” kicked off with an almost Vampire Weekend-y breakdown. The song shifted sonically several times building to a pinnacle of Andrea Lubberts backing Adrian’s vocals and almost seamlessly moving into “Free,” arguably one of their best live songs. The recorded version does it more than justice, with big energetic group vocals and Dave Zelinsky’s ripper of a guitar solo. The song “Free” demands your attention. Dave would later to go on to say that making this song was “a joyful period in studio.”

The one song that made its way over from the Broken Record is We’re Not Islands.” Judging by how the band plays this song live, it was clear they weren’t done with it yet. The song gets some much needed landscaping, growing its rich, luscious sounds to where we always thought it should be. Adding Andrea’s backing vocal to Adrian Chalifour’s voice again gives the song more depth. Having seen the song live for a long time it’s almost strange to not hear Jesse Boland come in with a breakdown of “Red Heart” by Hey Rosetta in the middle of the song.

Capping off first half of the listening party was the eponymous single, “West Coast.” A few months ago, this was our first taste of this record, and the album version brings new life to the song with an extended ending featuring some David Gilmour-esque guitar playing that slips into a piano breakdown.

A majority of second half of West Coast is more introspective and feels like the tide rolling out. There are several heartbreaking moments throughout it. Tension is build and releases. It was a surprisingly emotional experience for the audience members, and there were a few choked up band members, as well. It’s clear that this is a very personal record on many levels.

“Hearts on Fire” serves as an uplifting epilogue to the record as its final song. It lands a proper duet between Adrian and Andrea. Her voice steals the spotlight and overshadows Adrian’s voice as a bass-y roar comes in which is reminiscent of waves crashing on a west coast beach.

Standing ovations, more hugs, and much praise were given to a much deserving Towers and Trees. West Coast wears its heart on its sleeve, and is a testament to the musicianship and strength of this band. It’s a truly beautiful album, and I personally cannot wait to listen to it on repeat when it finally gets released.