A Fine Frenzy

A Fine Frenzy

BandAlternativePop

A Fine Frenzy is the enchanting musical world of Alison Sudol. And her sprawlingly ambitious new album PINES reaches for the stars. The singer-songwriter and passionate environmental campaigner, whose 2007 debut album ONE CELL IN THE SEA spawned the breakthrough hit 'Almost Lover.'

Biography

A Fine Frenzy is the enchanting musical world of Alison Sudol. And her sprawlingly ambitious new album PINES reaches for the stars. It is nothing less than the story of our age: an elegy for a planet on the brink of catastrophe. Our planet.

A magic-realist allegory about the enduring beauty and awesome power of nature, PINES is a wildly diverse musical adventure ¬ and a cautionary tale for the 21st century. “It began life as a children's story,” says Sudol. “Then I thought it would be an album of lullabies. But once I'd started writing, it just kept on growing.”

In time, it grew into the story of nature's fight for survival against the destructive encroachment of mankind. But because Sudol is an artist filled with optimism and compassion, it's filled not with gloom and doom, but with hope for a better future.

"The record begins in a time of endings, where everything good seems to be lost forever," says Sudol, "and then one day, something changes, bringing a flicker of hope to that dark place, and from that hope comes a chance to begin again... to choose a life instead of having it chosen for you."

Recorded over a week of torrential rainstorms in Los Angeles just before Christmas, PINES takes the listener on a voyage of discovery that at once celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the indestructible power of nature.

"It's about facing your fears and going through all the highs and lows, and wonders and delights and tragedies that come with learning how to live your life,” adds Sudol. “And finally finding where you belong.”

The singer-songwriter and passionate environmental campaigner, whose 2007 debut album ONE CELL IN THE SEA spawned the breakthrough hit 'Almost Lover', began work on PINES after undergoing a crisis of confidence after completing her 2009 collection BOMB IN A BIRDCAGE.

“I had lost my way,” admits Sudol, 27. “I was disillusioned, I was suffering from writer's block... life block. Everything was distant and hazy. I knew I had a capacity to feel joy and wonder, and that life had definitely felt like an adventure once, but that feeling had gone. I couldn't feel much of anything anymore. I was pining for something I felt I once had, or perhaps just the idea of it... this record was an effort to reclaim that feeling, instead of just mourning its loss.”

The process began when a close friend fell pregnant, prompting Sudol to reassess her life, and the world in which her friend's child would be born. “I thought back to my early childhood in Seattle, where we were surrounded by nature, and of moving at the age of five to Los Angeles, which had no trees and was quite urban and scary to a child from the Pacific North West.

“I retreated at a young age into reading books because they contained so much beauty; so many beautiful places that you could travel to in you mind. For many years I relied on my imagination to be more magical than life because the real world seemed like a disappointing place to live.”

Retreating more literally to the Cascade Mountains in Washington state two years ago, Sudol once again began to dream, surrounded by the vastness of nature. "It was hugely inspiring. I absorbed as much of it as I could and then put that into the songs when I got home." She found further inspiration in the awe-inspiring redwood forests of Northern California. "When you're really deep in the sequoias, it's like being in a cathedral. It's so quiet, and the trees are so ancient. I could feel things stirring deep in my heart, so much so that it was almost overpowering at times. I was so happy there, truly happy, for the first time in what felt like ages."

And so was born a single song, 'Avalanches,’ about a solitary pine tree atop a mountain peak: the last survivor of a once vibrant and verdant forest, sadly surveying the destruction of the forest below ¬ until one day, a bird alights upon its branches. This would be the first stepping stone in what became PINES.

Epic in scope and sound, PINES was recorded with a dizzying cast of musical accomplices collected by Sudol's chosen producer, Keefus Green, whose credits as a musician range from rappers Dr. Dre and Ice Cube to bluegrass superstar Alison Krauss, jazz diva Cassandra Wilson, and punk legend Iggy Pop.

"Keefus is the kindest person in the world, soft spoken and humble, and he brings out the best in people, but his mind is also a musical carnival. Some of the things that came out of it made me laugh - they were so wonderful and unexpected. We had a lot of fun."

To inspire the musicians, who included longtime A Fine Frenzy collaborator Omar Cowan (guitar) and acclaimed producer-musicians Jon Brion (guitar, synth, pump organ) and Jonathan Wilson (drums, percussion, ukulele), Sudol decorated the historic Capitol Records studio in Hollywood with boughs of pine, film slides of national parks, and fairy lights. She meticulously explained her vision for every song - “I told them about the natural environmen

Discography

Pines - 2012
Noted tracks:
Now Is The Start
Avalanches
It's Alive

Bomb In A Bird Cage - 2009
Noted tracks:
Happier
Electric Twist
What I Wouldn't Do

One Cell In The Sea - 2008
Noted tracks:
Almost Lover