“It’s do or die with this band,” frontman Devin Oliver said. “It’s my life.”
Hailing from Michigan, I See Stars definitely knows how to step up their game. With Zach Johnson and Jimmy Gregerson leaving the band on good terms, the six piece band fell to four and probably for the better. The heavy “unclean” vocals from Johnson have left, however, being replaced with techno drops and beats seems to make the album quite satisfying with its softer and fully melodic tunes when listening.
Treehouse shows an immensely cohesive project that proves the band sounds better than they ever have. They have finally nailed their attempts at fusing electronic beats to a rather pop-punk sound while seamlessly blending sounds together. This album showcases that there’s not only variety throughout, but substance to each track. There’s sincerity and honesty within lyrics as well as hearts being poured out onto paper. I See Stars does it again and manages to make it better as the album reaching its last song.
Right when the album starts, the dreaminess of “Calm Snow” immediately pushes listeners into a whole new world with the mysterious piano introductions and rather soft instrumentals. The beat drops a bit before Devin Oliver’s voice ring out and says, “Don’t you tell me them lies we both know.” As a first song, it packs a punch and shows listeners this isn’t the same I See Stars they once knew. “Break,” the second track on the album, smoothly moves between big rock riffs and soft piano melodies. Heartbreak is the theme of “White Lies,” being filled with relatable pain as the lyrics, “You said you’d be there ‘til the bitter end” ring out.
As “Everyone’s Safe in the Treehouse” began playing, it doesn’t actually seem like it’s playing until about twenty seconds in, building the momentum. However, once the music starts, it starts. That first hook soars over the wild instrumental. While all the previous songs have been a slow and steady stride to the powerful choruses, “Running With Scissors” is the exact opposite. The song explodes with rowdy guitars and dubstep-like synths causing the sounds to entrance anyone without an escape. The repetitive and hushed vocals saying, “I will not go/I’ll make it through the night/I will not go/I’ll shine my brighter lights” makes “Mobbin’ Out” a song to be forgotten. However, it is one of the songs that the old-school I See Stars fans will enjoy and indulges in any sort of screaming.
The song that stood out was “Walking On The Gravestones.” Being an almost all instrumental song, it sounded a lot like an EDM jammer without the vicious bass drop. Whatever lyrics that were present were whispered and drowned out by pianos, though personally, that’s what made the song great. “Light In The Cave” is the perfect mix of old and new with amazing guitars and the sinister electronics but also completely melodic. Then, we get “All In” which is probably a really bad experiment at being a “club banger.”
All in all, every bands aims to find their muse and let’s be honest, I See Stars found theirs. While venturing away from their signature electonicore sound, the band has created an album that makes you want to listen again. From the calming of a piano to the ripping guitar, this band is proof of what it means to progress. Treehouse, without a doubt, has caught my attention.