Review: Treetop Flyers – Old Habits (2021)

`Old Habits` is folk rock band Treetop Flyers fourth album and first for three years. They were formed by Reid Morrison, Laurie Sherman, and Sam Beer, who met whilst playing in other projects as part of the West London folk scene and have since expanded to a sextet with the addition of Ned Crowther, Rupert Shreeve, and  Geoff Widdowson.  

The album opens with `Golden Hour` and it`s a wonderfully laid back dreamy number that is made for lazy sunny summer days spent with good  friends. Singer Reid Morrison`s vocal delivery is pitched at that kind of level that really blends with the music but is also quite mesmeric. This track has everything from piano tinkling, organ tinges, wistful guitar riffs, some gently shared steady drumming to keep us on track and enchanting backing harmonies. We have a much more introspective piece with `Dancing Figurines` which was inspired by a box of old letters which included one from an ex-girlfriend. The ruminative guitar chords put me in mind of George Harrison and I could feel myself getting caught up and without realising it singing along with the sha-la-la’s on the chorus. 

There`s a more upbeat and potent vibe to `100` a track that could easily fit in a Van Morrison set with its occasional brass snatches. Another track that could have come from the Van Morrison stable is the reflective `Castlewood Road` which was written about the Stoke Newington street on which the band’s lead guitarist Laurie Sherman lives. The guys said that they spent a lot of time there over the years writing, chatting, drinking coffee, listening to records and Laurie even mixed the latest album there.

I read somewhere that `River` was kindled by a retreat the singer went on. It’s a captivatingly deep but mellow offering with the lyrics gently shared and some beguiling saxophone tinges sprinkled throughout. Title track `Old Habits` has a fairly playful and jaunty texture with a splendid guitar solo towards the end. “We’re all getting a bit older, and a few of us have gone through some difficult things,” explains frontman Reid Morrison. “And I remember talking to our bass player Ned, and he used that phrase: old habits die hard. He was talking about the difficulty of leaving a band he used to be in, but obviously it could apply to all sorts of things: drinking, relationships, whatever. And it just stuck with me – it felt quite poignant in terms of where everyone was.”

`Cool Your Jets` is a real rock out which seemed to me to be the band`s answer to Bachman Turner Overdrive`s  `Takin Care Of Business`. I loved the backing harmonies, what sounded like a motorcycle revving and the saxophone solo midway through. Stunning. The fellas offer up an absorbing and enthralling number with `Out The Blue` which had me drifting off and thinking about all sorts of things. A quite spellbinding composition.

`Sometimes` had such a sweet soulful texture and if Otis Redding were still alive I think he`d be begging these guys to let him record it. Just listen to it! The album closes out with `Night Choir` and I have to say it reminded me of some of the soulful bluesy rock ballads that Paul Weller has made his trademark. We have another intricate guitar solo towards the later part of the song but this number has a blend of instrumentation throughout.

`Old Habits` is an achingly beautiful and stunning submission which really deserves widespread attention. To me it was undoubtedly forty minutes of pure aural heaven. I read somewhere that they`ll soon be announcing some UK shows and if they venture anywhere near where you reside, I’d urge you to attend.

Rating 9/10