Once We Were Trees - Beachwood Sparks

Generally favorable reviews - based on 11 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. The SoCal indie cowboys deliver an album completely displaying musical, songwriting, and repertory growth from their critically acclaimed self-titled debut.
  2. Their four-way harmonies soar to meet that now-familiar, West Coast country jangle, tart pop songs blending into a deep, rich mulch out of which melodies grow like wildflowers.
  3. The Beachwood Sparks balance deft restraint with hot guitar licks, making Once We Were Trees the best Byrds album since Sweetheart of the Rodeo.
  4. The pop smarts practically shimmer throughout. [Dec 2001, p.83]
  5. By scaling warm guitar lines, keen melodies, and a valuable sense of history, these Sparks continue to fly.
  6. Get past that intentional AM-radio blur and you hear a rich album full of texture and subtlety.... Thing is, as good as this is, it could be better.
  7. 80
    More coherent, conceptual, and organic than their eponymous British Invasion-influenced debut. [Dec 2001, p.154]
  8. 70
    The Sparks take the nascent country rock of their obvious influence and extraploate every last ounce of plangent guitar chime and yearing vocal polyphony until they ring afresh. [Nov 2001, p.100]
  9. When I take into account that 1) there are actual songs here, not just parodies, and 2) most of the tunes were fun to listen to, I remember that playing rock-- psychedelic, trashy or otherwise-- doesn't have to be an exercise in originality.
  10. Beachwood Sparks do their Sixties So-Cal thing so well, you kind of wish they'd stick with it and leave the genre blending and apocalyptic disillusionment to Radiohead.
  11. Unlike, say, fellow old-time Americana acolytes Mercury Rev, Beachwood Sparks lack sufficient melodic brio and steadfastly refuse to make any concessions to 21st century life. [Nov 2001, p.116]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 4 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 1 out of 2
  1. MikH
    Jan 19, 2005
    Give Once We Were Trees time and you'll discover some very beautiful moments both lyrically and musically. While the album consists of the bands lethargic experimental alt country style combined with more upbeat psychedelic work outs, the album as a whole doesn Full Review »