The pair’s noisy tendencies can’t drown out some epic melodies.
Tom Hocknell 2012
East London’s growing reputation for electronica is reminiscent of the 80s DIY punk attitude that resulted in keyboardists as likely to be holding soldering irons as a tune. While Visions of Trees are the epitome of synth duos it’s impossible not to hit while swinging cats in Hoxton’s pubs, this distinct debut album clearly aims for a bigger audience.
Formed in 2009, Sara Atalar and Joni Juden bonded over their love of RnB, pop and 90s dance. Coming across like extras from Judge Dredd, they make an appropriately apocalyptic noise with epic melodies swerving amid the mix. Unlike Grimes and promising upstarts I Am a Camera, Visions of Trees are not pursuing perfect pop. Instead, they’re making broader sweeps with the same soundtrack.
Although appropriating 90s rave motifs is fairly on-trend, here the genre is applied more interestingly. Juden’s background in punk bands is evidenced through techno-reverb, with which Atalar’s vocals battle for air.
Recent single Turn 2 U, along with the elegant Glass Rain, exemplifies their moody, tussled pop, occasionally exhuming the genre buried with the KLF and their self-proclaimed stadium house trilogy. Despite sensible lengths, these songs aren’t quite chart-ready. But We’re All Dust shares unlikely DNA with Belinda Carlisle’s 1989 hit, Leave a Light On.
Visions of Trees are most interested in atmosphere. Everything Awaits pulsates with incessant euphoria, while gigs involve staring resolutely at keyboards and shoes, like some kind of rave-gaze. It’s celebratory stuff and Disappeared in particular evokes strobe-filled clubs so effectively you can almost see the dry ice.
It’s hard to see how they will emerge beyond local success, but that may not be the point. Visions of Trees are enjoying themselves, which is evident throughout this atmospheric and surprisingly tight album.