Independent - April 9 2007

The Finglas four's fond farewell

THE Brilliant Trees are yet another Irish band who could have been contenders. Since 1990, the members of this Finglas quartet have been plugging away tirelessly.

However, despite consolidating a formidable live reputation and releasing some well-received recordings, they never made much of an impact either at home or away.

While their recorded output is admittedly rather ordinary, vocalist Alan Hoey and Tony and Sid Barrett must be given credit for writing a clutch of strong songs that shine in a live context. After intermittent reunion gigs over the years, they've finally decided to call it a day and pop the retirement bubbly with this Easter Saturday blow out.

At their best, the Trees' no-nonsense guitar pop recalls the melodic sensibilities of The Smiths and The La's. The early single 'Talent' mightn't sound anything special on record, but live it drives the crowd wild. The keyboard playing is fantastic. At times, it's so good that you'd swear there was a string section and a brass band hidden backstage.

While the Brilliant Trees never scored the anthemic big hit, there is a large crowd hanging onto every single word and note. Sadly, the cruel truth is that success in the music industry is judged by units sold rather than lives touched.

The Brilliant Trees were never hip, but it shouldn't be forgotten that they blew a lot of people's minds in the process and this Easter swansong is no exception. They could conceivably stage a show like this every year, but the music industry demands an awful lot more.



Hot Press - June 7 2000

Single Of The Fortnight #2
Brilliant Trees
'Let It All Go' (Plush Vibe)

"For the guts of a decade, these guys have been releasing pristine pop music that, for one reason or another, failed to get the attention it deserved - 'Talent' is one of Ireland's most underrated singles ever. Here's hoping that 'Let It All Go' changes their fortunes. Sumptuous strings give way to a gorgeous melody that lingers long after the song has run its course. Already picking up considerable airplay on Dublin's discerning pirate stations, surely with a song this good it can't be long before the mainstream stations follow suit."


Brilliant Trees - 'Let It All Go'

"The band believe their latest offerings are some of their best works to date and hope that it will provide further backing to many people’s opinion that it is only a matter of time before they achieve the success that they have toiled so long for.

The title track, ‘Let It All Go’, is a beautiful four-minute thriller, with Alan Hoey’s distinctive vocals providing a stunning finish to this lyrical masterpiece. ‘Save Me’ is the Trees doing what they do best – an explosion of pop with fantastic harmonies. Get Out Of The Way brings us the up-tempo Brilliant Trees with lots of guitar and a fuller sound. ‘The Fall’ is a slightly more experimental track, with the band slightly veering down a different avenue of sound but still tempting us with pieces of their trademark guitar sound to keep us all happy. ‘Free’, the final track is the icing on the cake, rounding off this delectable collection of pop, with Hoey’s stunning vocals again shining through.

‘Let It All Go’ was recorded and produced during the band’s most recent trip to America. It will be released on independent label, Plush Vibe, with a release date of early April." - 'Wake Up & Dream'

Editorial Reviews

For those who feared that the rise of Oasis marked the end of British dream-pop, Brilliant Trees will calm nerves. The Irish quartet walk in the cemented footprints of early-'90s shoe gazers Ride, Catherine Wheel, and the Stone Roses, while their predominantly jangly guitar rhythms chime in pop perfection worthy of the La's. But rather than merely revive a wilting genre, the band branches out beyond the guitar-washed pale with the poignant piano-driven ballad "Dance to Your Persuasion" and the Buzzcocks-like blitz "Family Matters." Allowing glimpses of inspiration barely tapped on Wake-Up & Dream, the Brilliant Trees hold promise that they, like the once-ether-steeped Blur, will foray into ventures as anticipated as they are unpredictable. --Beth Massa

From the Label

What a refreshing listening adventure for those ears tired of the generic, commercial radio sound being indulged by the major labels today. Wake Up & Dream is the second independent release by Dublin's janglemeisters, the Brilliant Trees, proving them to be masters of effervescent guitar pop. They're still taking simple, catchy and harmony driven songs with subtle yet profound lyrics as their template.

The title track, "Like You A Lot, Love You a Little", remains a great single with it's swirling guitar melodies and lush vocals, along with "If You Stay" and the intoxicating love song "Heartstrings. The keyboard-kissed acoustic alternative, "Dance To Your Persuasion" and the Beatle-esque "Girl I Used To Know" evoke innocence. But then there's a sharp whiff of Buzzcocks every so often, especially on "Only Us" and the hard-hitting "Family Matters". Musically, it whizzes and zooms with exuberant intensity. Lyrically, theres's plenty of depth and social commentary for the thoughtful listener.

These four musicians create a powerful collection of pure poetry brimming with intensity and intelligence, sure to seduce any listener. It's power-pop at it's best - don't miss this one.

About the Artist

After nine years of playing together, this Dublin-based band that has had much success in Ireland is looking to captivate new fans in the U.S., Europe and Asia. The four members of the Brilliant Trees share a passion for guitar-driven "power pop" music with subtle yet profound lyrics, drawing upon their early influences - The Smiths and The La's. Their "jangley" pop guitar style has led to comparisons with the early work of Blur but as they have matured as musicians, they have developed a unique style all their own.

The band took their name from David Sylvian's first solo album, Brilliant Trees. Sylvian's themes of growth, earth and life inspired them. While their songs do not preach, the thoughtful listener will find social commentary evident in all of their work. The Brilliant Trees released their first single, "Home" in 1993, a bittersweet song about the rebuilding of Dublin which became a top ten hit on the Irish charts, and their debut album, Friday Night released in Ireland in 1996 featured their pop hit "Talent". Following with the release of an EP in October of 1997, the title track "Heartstrings", an intoxicating love song, became an instant classic and moved the band closer to their present sound.

The release of their new album, Wake Up & Dream, establishes the Brilliant Trees as serious artists. Members of the band called the Georgia mountains home for one month while recording this first album with their independent American label, Plush Vibe. Recorded on analog equipment, the rich, warm sound was enhanced by mixing all tracks on a vintage Neve desk. This recording features the collaboration of the band with two American producers and various session musicians, most notably Joey Huffman, formerly of Soul Asylum and currently performing with Matchbox 20, who sat in on piano for "Dance To Your Persuasion".

The band has been busy promoting the release of Wake Up & Dream in Ireland and around the world, performing at the prestigious Midem International Music Market in Canne, France in January and also at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas this past March. With their exposure at these international music conferences, the band have attracted the attention of major record labels who can take their music to the next level. This summer the Brilliant Trees will be touring England and look forward to returning to the U.S. later this year. BAND_MEMBERS: Alan Hoey - vocals, guitar, melodica Sid Barrett - bass Tony Barrett - guitars Dave Farrell - drums

Album Description

With the release of their second album, Wake Up & Dream, the Brilliant Trees prove to be masters of driving, effervescent guitar-pop. The four members of this Dublin based band draw upon early influences - The Smiths and The La's - and create a powerful collection of pure poetry, brimming with intensity and intelligence, cleverly concealed in a delectable indie-pop shell.

While the tracks "Like You A Lot, Love You a Little" and "Take Me Away" have been the radio favourites, this follow-up album is full of hit songs. Wake Up & Dream incorporates distinct elements of the musical spectrum, ranging from the infectious groove of "Only Us", the aggressive, hard-hitting "Family Matters" to the airy, keyboard-kissed, acoustic alternative, "Dance To Your Persuasion", a beautiful ballad about the peace process in Northern Ireland. Diverse tracks such as the intoxicating love song "Heartstrings", laden with swirling guitars; the surprising blues-inspired "Television"; and the lush strings in "Girl I Used To Know" are sure to seduce any listener.

All in all, Wake Up & Dream is a sweet collection of bitter-innocent melodies delivered with admirable simplicity and aplomb.


Local Ireland - 2000

by Daniel Hegarty

In many ways the Brilliant Trees can count themselves as one of the most unlucky Irish bands of all time. After penning gems like ‘Talent’, ‘Heartstrings’ and ‘Town’, the Finglas quartet still find themselves struggling for recognition outside of this country.

To their credit they’ve persevered and haven’t given up when many others would have packed it in years ago. Their story starts back in the early 1990s when they were tipped for greatness along with others like The Cranberries and Therapy?

The ‘Let It All Go’ EP is their most accomplished work to date and finds them moving up a number of levels. Not only has the song writing improved, the four members sound more cohesive than before.

Three of the five tracks (‘The Fall’, ‘Free’ & ‘Let It All Go’) could teach much of indie/pop’s notoriety a few things, we’ll just have to wait and see how much good this will do for these under-rated Dubliners.

Published by: Local Ireland
Year written: 2000
Copyright owned by: Daniel Hegarty


Irish Music Net - January 1999

"Still dealing in simple indie-pop songs with melodies you can actually hum along to, Dublin's Brilliant Trees follow up the success of their Friday Night début disc with Wake Up & Dream, a collection of eleven tracks designed to soothe most any furrowed brow...Recorded in the mountains of Georgia (USA), Wake Up And Dream sees the Trees branching out, bringing in American producers Steve Askew and Rick Meyer, and session musicians that range from a brass section drawn from the Atlanta Philharmonic to Joey Hoffman, formerly of Soul Asylum ..Stand out tracks on an album of relationship tunes include, Like You A Lot, Love You A Little (crazy title, crazy song), the acoustic beauty of Dance To Your Persuasion and Girl I Used To Know. While many of their peers continue to belt out three chord gormless guitar rock, the Trees at least have the courage to write some decent tunes. So take their advice. Wake up and dream, a little.."


Boston Phoenix - Up And Coming - 1999

"If you put Billy Bragg, the Smiths, and the Jam into a blender, you might begin to describe the Brilliant Trees (from Dublin). Alan, the lead singer, has a voice that should melt the hearts of many."

Angie C
"Asleep at the Wheel," WFNX