CD Review: Pree “Folly”

Posted: November 6, 2012 in Music
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Having spent time in the band Le Coup, May Tabol has now taken her talent and her apparent taste for something just a little weird and created a band that gives the listener something different to listen to. The band that Tabol is now putting her talent and effort into is called Pree.

Along with Tabol who sings and plays several different instruments in the band (including the guitar, among others), the rest of Pree consists of: Ethan Brasseaux on drums and bass; Ben Usie on bass, drums and musical saw; and the multi-talented Vanessa Degrassi who adds not only the guitar, but also melodic, flute and ukulele. Add to this mix violin, flugelhorn, dulcimer and other sounds and you start to get an idea of the unusual nature of the band’s sound. That unusual sound can be found on Pree’s 2011 release, Folly.

When first discovering the music of Pree, it’s difficult to figure out whether it’s the music from the band or the unique quality of May Tabol’s voice that first grabs your attention. But either way, after the first song on the album of Folly, you know you have come in contact with music that is warm while at the same time, well….unusual.

Folly from Pree begins with the track “Songs of Promise”. One of the most unusual tracks on the release, the song seems to create a battle within itself as the two musical styles of folk and rock alternate throughout the length of the track. You’ll hear the band perform with a rock edge to the music, and then change to take on a more folk-like feel. Part folk, part rock, “Songs of Promise” is one of the most challenging tracks on Folly, but it seems to tell the audience listening in “from here it gets easier”.

Unlike the first track, “Fortune” finds Pree on more solid musical ground as the band seems to capture the folk side of their sound on this track. And while focusing mainly on folk music, the musicians add some jazz instrumentation on the track. This combination of folk and jazz creates a gentle, relaxed approach to the song, which ends up being almost the exact opposite of the album’s first track.

The sound of Folly changes slightly on the album’s third track of “Lemon Tree”. On the song, May Tabol puts down her guitar in exchange for her piano. “Lemon Tree” focuses mainly on the piano playing of Tabol while the remaining members of the band come in for the refrain of the song. At the end of each pass of the refrain, everyone comes to a staggered stop, sounding as if they all run out of steam. “Lemon Tree” is fun to listen to and seems to add a bit of novelty to the album.

It is on the track “Te Koop / A Vendre” that you truly get a sense of the power behind the voice of May Tabol. On this track, Tabol’s voice seems a lot staronger than on any previous track. The track also contains a lot of beauty that comes from the music itself, as the usual folk music created by Tabol and the rest of Pree is joined by a subtle orchestration that fits with the rest of the songs on the album of Folly.

Pree takes a slightly stronger approach to the energy of the music on “Salt”. “Salt” is yet another track on the release that brings out the unusual nature of the music as Pree creates a folk/rock track that has other elements to the music. And with the addition of Vanessa Degrassi’s melodic, the song picks up a slightly Middle Eastern flavor to the music.

Pree definitely creates music that stretches your idea of what folk music can sound like. Throughout the thirteen tracks that make up their 2011 release Folly, the band fuses that genre with jazz as well as rock to create songs that change musical approaches from track-to-track. And while the release starts slightly off-kilter with the track “Songs of Promise,” the remainder of the album is strong, if not a little whimsical.

Click HERE for the track “Lemon Tree” from Pree’s Folly release.

Check out more music by going to the band’s label of Paper Garden Records.

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