Tree – Plant a Tree or Die – Review


Plant a Tree or Die (Cherrydisc)
by Scott Hefflon

After well over a year of blasting the shit out of audiences all over the state and across this fine nation of ours, Tree finally got locked in the studio to record the satirical socio/political/ eco/environmental hardcore ragefest which is Plant a Tree or Die (Cherrydisc). As one of the most live, loud and loud-mouthed bands to come out of Boston ever, one would have to live in a shoebox to have not been affected by them in some way. Having a fanatic statewide following that would give any Messiah wanna-be an inferiority complex, the cult status of this band is undeniable. Even for those who find the lyrical content comparable to tenth-grade post-punk pissings and the music is simplistic and obscenely noisy – the band moves you. Even if only to switch the station to something as non-challenging as, say, Green Day, Tree forces you to respond. They force you to move.

Fueled by reactions to issues of the day, Tree is constantly taking a stand. It’s not uncommon to find their name on benefit bills for Earth First!, Mass Cann, NORML, or Rent Control. Their beliefs go far beyond lyrical bashings, they rant movingly at shows, on radio, or in private conversations. They’re just passionate, verbal people.

One other charming aspect of Tree – they’re swell guys. They’re not tortured artists, lofty idealists, or shapeshifting media posterboys; they’re the type of guys you drink excessively with, strongly agree with, strongly disagree with, and shake hands with after a show and they give a fuck. They were helped along in the beginning by buds Stompbox and Sam Black Church, and now they’re helping up-and-coming heavy bands get exposure and gigs. While the “Tree remembers their roots” pun is vulgar, it’s also true. They’ve used the grass roots, do-it-yourself thing without loosing their integrity and should be an inspiration to bands to stick to their beliefs.

Plant a Tree or Die may only be thirty (or thirty-three) minutes long (depending on if you count the dead air when the CD is “finished”), but blasts for every second, so you barely notice how brief it is. The bonus tracks from the early days, (besides sounding like shit) display that garage punk/obscurist side of Tree that, luckily, surfaces only in bonus tracks. The fave is “Negative Hippy,” for its humor (and reefer-ence to “Inagoddadavida”), but practically every song is likely to evoke a sadistic smirk from the spinning, slamming scenesters. Slip someone you love/hate the wood this Christmas.