When listening to the title track off Seattle-based rock-with-a-folky-twist band Autumn Electric’s Make Me a Tree, it’s easy to draw comparisons to another Pacific Northwest singer. There’s a very Ben Gibbard-like quality to lead singer/guitarist/flutist/songwriter Michael Trew’s voice on this song, which, mixed with his voice’s natural waver and the Michael Stipe-like tone he carries throughout the rest of Make Me a Tree, makes the album sound familiar, yet original at the same time.
“Raccoons” is a somber song that showcases how well Trew’s and lead and backing vocalist/pianist/synth and melodica player Naomi Smith’s voices complement each other. Then there’s “Spaghetti Western,” an eight-minute song with a fantastic musical interlude. Smith’s soft, yet strong voice takes the lead on “Harold,” while the entire band’s, rounded out by Daniel Desrosiers on percussion and Barton McGuire on lead guitar, saw, accordion and harmonica, softer side comes out on the beautiful little ditty, “I Dreamt You Had Vibrato.”
Quite a few of the songs on Make Me a Tree seem to follow the “Spaghetti Western” pattern of lyrics-instrumental interlude-lyrics but while the song structure may be a bit repetitive, Autumn Electric more than make up for it with the musical diversity of each track.