The Treats
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The Treats

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""Reservoir Tales" album review"

The Treats
Reservoir Tales
(2007, Standing Water Records)
Rating: 8.7

"Reservoir Tales is a heaping overdose of crunchy southern rock that manages to take gothic and power-pop twists. The fact that The Treats included 18 tracks for this affair works out quite well, as these songs fall somewhere between being assaulted snippets (think Guided By Voices) and collages of gritty hooks. Andrew Isham handles the lead vocals for this 3-piece, and his presence scores the band a certain amount of angst and dirty authenticity. Slower stomps like "Cuchillo" share the influence of 70's spirituals, and quasi-ballads like "Blind And Undying"" bring to mind an over-sauced Richard Swift. But the unique dilemma with The Treats is that they're so dang good at dabbling into bits of blues, folk, country, and punk...that it's impossible to nail them down. The overall sound is very messy, kind of garage-like, and inspired from a generation three times removed. More than anything else, The Treats play like an ideal working man's band, perfect after a less than enjoyable grind on the 9 to 5. It wouldn't surprise me to ever get wind that The Treats is some overt and undercover side-project of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, birthed in their Howl sessions. Or maybe more appropriately, The Treats are looking to fill the void left by Uncle Bob's demise of the great GbV. Either way, Reservoir Tales is a heck of a record. This is a southern monster. The kind of rock'n'roll record that stays near and dear. The kind of record that plays like an old friend. Lovely is a pretty word, and while The Treats aren't a pretty band, they heap spoonfuls of lovely all over their dirty little songs. Lovely, indeed!"

- The Black & White Magazine


""Reservoir Tales" album review"

The Treats
Reservoir Tales
(Independently released CD, Rock/pop)

"Pure rock music played the way it ought to be played...without unnecessary crap getting in the way of the music. The Treats is the band consisting of Andrew Isham (guitar, lead vocals), Don Isham (drums, backing vocals), and Tim Payne (bass, backing vocals)...three guys in Madison, Wisconsin who obviously love playing loud, ballsy rock. These guys aren't into gimmicks. Their tunes don't contain state-of-the-art studio tricks and sounds...and they don't wear make up nor do they sport odd haircuts. Reservoir Tales features catchy blues-infected rock tunes delivered straight-from-the-hip without pomp and circumstance. The playing is tight and determined...but the songs are what make this album such a cool spin. Eighteen groovy cuts here including "Second Hand Reserve," "Ever Been Down?", "Better Things To Do," and "Long Gone." (Rating: 4+++++)"
- LMNOP Music Reviews


""Reservoir Tales" album review"

"First it was Sleeping In the Aviary, then is was The Archivist, now here comes the next big thing from Wisconsin: The Treats. The band is a three piece that hails from Madison and just recently released their second full length album, Reservoir Tales. For their sophomore effort, the band didn't have a shortage of material; the album presents a hefty load of eighteen tracks. They don't mince music either, or fail to rock out for the duration. Any more southern rock & roll than this and you're talking Free Bird. To spice things up a little, you'll note a hint of some Jon Spencer Blues Explosion jamming as well (try "Ever Been Down?" below). Don't think the whole album is none stop axe work though. There are the slow burners for you, too, "You Don't Have To Change" for instance. Try the following, then treat yourself to the rest of the album."

- Mainstream Isn't So Bad....Is It?


"The Treats Keep it Simple"

The Treats are, quite simply, rock ’n’ roll, and thank God for that. They aren’t synth-prog, they aren’t pop-punk, and they aren’t rap-metal or any other offshoot. They don’t spend time discussing their influences or the nature of their sound. They just play anywhere they can.

Their debut record, Paint Your Blood, was recorded in the basement of a house on Lake Monona and was nearly ruined by a heavy thunderstorm that flooded their makeshift studio.

“There were cracks in the wall where big jet streams of water were squirting out onto our equipment,” bassist Tim Payne said.

Luckily, the band had finished recording the day before. An attempt to hammer drum sticks into the holes in the wall only made the problem worse, but they were able to save their equipment from the standing water by propping it up on Franzia wine boxes.

“That’s how we concluded the record,” frontman Andy Isham said.

When recording began, a septic line in the house was backed up, and the band had to step over raw sewage in order to get to their studio space.

So the Treats have overcome a few hurdles since forming in 2000, when Andy and his brother, drummer Don, would rock out in their house and then next-door neighbor Payne poked his head in and asked if he could play too. None of the guys had ever been in a band before, and so each member influenced the others’ development.

“We learned at the same time,” Andy said. “We were kinda globulous, fitting into each like jig-saw puzzle pieces.”

Together, they have formed an effective team. As a singer/guitarist, Isham has the attitude and good looks of a rock star, and as his rhythm section has the musical chops to back him up and the beef to ensure no one fucks with their smaller frontman. All three received their engineering degrees from UW-Madison, and Andy is currently enrolled in grad school. Their backgrounds are useful since they do all of the recording themselves.

“The technical aspects of the recording is really cool to me,” said Payne, who works a day job creating computer 3-D models by pulling millions of atoms off of different materials in order to catalog them.

Hence their record is surprisingly crisp and professional-sounding for a group of amateur producers. The Treats can sound dirty or clean, aggressive or sweet, and they frequently shift gears from song to song. Even during live shows, they try to change it up while still rocking out.

“It’s important to maintain variety,” Andy said.

With song titles like “Early Guns,” “Cocktails and Dreams,” “Cut Me Straight to the Bone” and “Swimming with Sharks,” many give off a “living dangerously” vibe. But despite having a pair of brothers in the group, the reputation of Oasis-style rock ’n’ roll animals isn’t really fitting for the Treats.

“Our debauchery, I daresay, is half-assed compared with other bands,” Andy said. They do most of their gigging in town, but occasionally hit the road to play in Milwaukee, Chicago and Minneapolis. And even outside the familiar sphere of Madison, the band doesn’t feel the need, or even have the chance, to smash up hotel rooms.

“We always stay at friends’ places, so we try to be respectful,” Don added.

The band has found success through doing things themselves and learning as they go. They are currently building a new recording space called “Standing Water Studio” and will begin work on the new record in several months when it is completed. And for this rock band, the goal is simple.

“To keep making music that we’re proud of,” Andy said. The Treats will play an acoustic set this Friday at the Slipper Club and are scheduled for a June 17 show at the Memorial Union Terrace.
- Coreweekly


"The Treats heat up the Crystal Corner"

With three of Madison's dearest bands on the docket, the Crystal Corner Bar was the place to be on Saturday night for music lovers looking to escape the wintry weather. The Shabelles, The Buffali and The Treats all took the stage at this Willy Street institution, filling the venue and heating it (literally) to scorching.

Openers The Shabelles put on a typically fun set, playing such favorites as "Right Wing Girlfriend" and busting out keyboardist Ropin’ Rodeo Nate's saxophone for the do-wop ditty "Something is Starting." It's hard not to love this band, simply because they're so endearing. The music is endearing, the lyrics are endearing, and the banter among the bandmates is doubly endearing. The Shabelles don't try to be anything they're not; they're simply themselves, and the result is nothing if not lovable.

Returning to the local circuit after doubling in size was the quirky, if not aggravating, The Buffali. Led by the perky Clare Fehsenfeld on keyboards/guitar and Andrew Yonda on bass, the newly-minted quartet seems better suited for community theatre and neighborhood festivals than sustaining a bar audience for an entire set. Ms. Fehsenfeld's voice, although lovely, is shrill after awhile, and her overly animated gesticulations and repartee with Mr. Yonda are reminiscent of Gershwin musical fare. Their energy and good humor are admirable, but tongue-in-cheek is a tricky thing to master -- especially at the down-home Crystal Corner.

The night was dominated, though, by the electricity of The Treats, whose hour-long set had enough grit and verve to keep this attendee warm for her entire trip home. Drawing heavily from classic rock and roll, the trio let 'er rip last night. They jolted a weary audience with their fiery sound, including songs like "Ever Been Down" and "You Don't Have to Change" from their latest album, Reservoir Tales, and a particularly hot Ray Charles/Talking Heads cover.

Hunky frontman Andrew Isham bears an eerie likeness to Jack White, both in his admirable guitar soloing and enigmatic stage presence. Add to the mix an equally talented brother on the drums and a solid bassist in Tim Payne, and you've got a band that's tight enough for the big time.

The Treats are the latest and best reminder to keep seeing local music -- because once in awhile you can still stumble on something completely extraordinary in the midst of the usual productions. Go see this band. With their passion and drive, it can only get better from here.
- Isthmus


"Triumphant rock"

Do not expect anything less than satisfaction after spinning the Treats. Powered by the lucid vocals and guitar riffs of Andy Isham, the steady beats of Don Isham, and the strong bass lines of Tim Payne, the Madison-based triad is still garnering the recognition it so justly deserves from its June release of Paint Your Blood. Perhaps this enduring acknowledgment is due to the fact that it could take months to fully identify their sound. Although self-proclaimed as a “high energy blues, garage, kind of psychedelic, brit pop, punk” band, a more condensed classification would be plain old rock and roll. The artists are able to sift keenly through sounds and create various hybrids of music, offering at the very least a little bit of something for everyone. That alone makes their sound most definitely that of the individualistic classic rock style. Not only are the Treats able to offer different sounds among their tracks, (shifting quickly from the intensity of “Roll” into the calm of “Bliss”) but they are also undaunted by any code of musical conduct that might make them think twice about displaying that variety within one single song. Take the title track “Paint Your Blood,” for example. Out of the heavy electric guitars (reminiscent of early Nirvana) din comes a drum line boasting sunshine themes with a touch of ’60s rock.

While it is difficult to pick out any particular song that stands out from the others without delving into the valor of each and every one, a particular gem of the album is most certainly “Volcanic.” There is such a beautiful irony in hearing “I’ll float on the flames with you, my dear / I’ll see you in hell, my dear” coming from such a peaceful voice as that of Andy Isham. The neo-ballad form of the tune thoroughly juxtaposes the sound from what is said, creating something that unto itself is very poetic. In “Cut Me Straight to the Bone,” Payne’s definitive bass line offers the perfect foundation from which Andy is able to display his own flair of the strings.

These tunes, from the snappy to the splendid, continue to play in the mind long after the tracks have stopped. The only limitation of the Treats’ talent may reveal itself at this point, when the listener suddenly starts to question just why exactly he’s singing, “You’ve got me squeezing the fleas out of my own kodachrome.” The lyrics could easily suggest an enigmatical talent along the likes of the Strokes’ Julian Casablancas or a modernist brilliance such as poet E.E. Cummings.

Just as effortlessly, those same lines could be heard as bits and pieces of insight that seem to fall just shy of fervent development. Luckily for both the listener and the musician, the chorus lyrics are not the showcase of all that the Treats have to offer.

More often than not, the listener will want to get in on that party ending out “Cocktails and Dreams.” Moments like these show how the boys of the Treats just want to do their thing, creating their own brand of rock and roll. In the course of that, they released quite a fine debut album that forces repeat listenings.
Grade: AB+
- Badger Herald


"album review"

The best bands are the ones whose end result is greater than the sum of their parts. This is exactly the case the Madison rock trio the Treats. Not flashy, not too highly polished, but possessing just the right mix of guts, ingenuity and skill.

The album comes on like some Grand Funk-meets-the White Stripes song on hyperdrive with “Petroleum;” all frantic energy and humming guitar amps. “Early Guns” follows sounding like a lost Oasis track. Next comes “Sleepwalker,” a kick-ass song built on a blues-flavored riff in the Stevie Ray Vaughn vein and a screaming slide-guitar instrumental break. These three tracks exemplify the breadth of style the Treats are able to employ as well as the furious energy they are known to pump out at their live performances. But that’s not the limit of their versatility. The acoustic rock-and-roll swagger and melodic excellence of “Volcanic,” “Bliss,” “If Only” and Bluegill” reflect another aspect of this band’s complicated personality, as does the alt-country-infused “Fingers Rapping On My Door.” These are summer songs that impart sunlight, breeziness and instant likeability. “Cocktails and Dreams” is a bit of psychedelic rock, borrowing a melodic line from Santana’s “Black Magic Woman” but has a memorable refrain and augments their canon of versatility and variety.

It’s difficult to believe that only a year ago it appeared as if guitarist Andy Isham would never play his instrument again because of injuries received in a serious fall. His dedication to his recovery is truly inspiring and ranks him as one of our unsung local heroes. With these songs, however, he and brother/drummer Don Isham and bassist Tim Payne would have put themselves squarely on the map anyway. Try to resist bobbing your head to the beautiful noise of “Roll,” “Cut Me Straight to the Bone” and the title track, the latter of which features a killer guitar riff. The rhythm section is spot-on as well. Payne’s bass playing is especially appropriate, anchoring the songs solidly but with some stunning melodic flourishes. The ability of the rhythm section to reinforce the emotional dynamics in the songs is what makes this band so vital and gives them the ability to transcend their individual contributions.

Paint Your Blood was recorded, produced, and mixed by the band with only the mastering being done by an outsider, Colossal Mastering’s Dan Stout. The sound is full and alive. Things are a little heavy on the bottom end but this only serves to enhance the sonic enjoyment these great songs elicit. The basic tracks were done live in the studio and the word alive adequately describes this entire record.

Fans of quality rock-and-roll simply must hear Paint Your Blood. Supporters of local music simply must get out and see this phenomenal band and spur them on to even greater heights. This is what the rock experience is all about. - Rick's Cafe


"Madison's hard-rocking Treats crank up the volume"

Madison's Treats have been gigging regularly around town for a little over a year, running with every opportunity presented them. In that time, their combination of raw energy and even rawer talent has pressed the trio's profile higher and higher, and if the band's debut CD, Paint Your Blood (which they'll release Wednesday, June 16, at a free show on the Memorial Union Terrace), draws half the attention it deserves, it won't be long before "the kids" elevate these guys to full-time headliner status.

The Treats of today both look and sound the part. They've got the cool hair and boyish good looks to charm the ladies, plus a strong catalog of songs to match the hunger in their bellies. They're probably best known for their fuzzed-out blues-punk stormers, and, indeed, any fan of Motor City rock would be piqued by the younger Isham's explosive, gravel-chewing guitar sound (not to mention his Cobain-esque voice).

But the band's repertoire has more gears than just overdrive. "Volcanic" is a comely bit of laidback Beatle-pop; "Early Guns" merges crisp jangle-rock with a reggae bounce; "If Only" is more of a Brit-style ballad.

In keeping with the band's individualist philosophy, the Treats recorded and mixed Paint Your Blood themselves. "We wanted to have complete control of what we were doing and learn the techniques as well," Andy says. "We didn't want to go in and have it done for us."

The disc's raw, lo-fi sound seems not like a liability, but like a fitting adjunct to the band's sweat 'n' swagger stage show. "We're just looking to get the songs down. If we sacrifice a little bit of sound quality or we don't have every little technique or trick that could be done in a studio, it's not a major concern."

No, it's not a concern. It's rock 'n' roll, Treats style.
- Isthmus


"album review"

Raw, straight-ahead, and bluesy, Madison’s The Treats play catchy and pure rock n’ roll with indie sensibilities that are involving rather than alienating. “PYB” features gritty and amped-up electric guitars alternating with soft, wistful, and often lush acoustics. The lack of artifice and production tricks gives the album a live and energetic sound that lets the melodies stand out if front. Andy Isham’s voice is coarse and earthy and he shows a plastic and emotive range. Standout tracks include the Sublime-y (with the reggae influence but not the rap), “Early Guns,” the slow build-up of “Volcanic,” (any song that says “I’ll see you in hell, my dear,” is gonna be a winner), the chant-along “Bluegill,” (the album’s whiskey-soaked bar song), and the album closer, “Swimming with Sharks,” which infuses some alt-county into the mix and ends the disc with a bombastic guitar melody and chorus. “PYB,” is full of memorable moments and firmly establishes The Treats as one of Madison’s most exciting rock groups. - Maximum Ink


"album review"

Straight out of a garage in Madison, Wisconsin comes this hearty dose of old-school college rock. The Treats aren't bound by the sad old traditions of your average campus alterna-rock band. They move effortlessly from blues-rock to wistful acoustic pop, and as they explore their songwriting aptitude, we get to sample the reggae-esque groove of "Early Guns" and the foot-stompin' country vibe of "Finger Rappin' on My Door". The guitar-shredding "Roll" sounds like singer/guitarist Andrew Isham has studied Bleach-era Nirvana, while the title track feels like a long-lost Cynics B-side. Still, it's not until "Bluegill" that the The Treats really shine with their grandiose, anthemic outro.

-- David Klotz
- Splendid Magazine


Discography

Reservoir Tales LP
Paint Your Blood LP
The Treats EP

Photos

Bio

The Treats are a dynamic rock & roll trio who formed shortly after brothers/songwriters Andrew and Don Isham moved next door to bass player Tim Payne. After enduring several weeks of his new neighbors’ late night bassless jams, Tim had heard enough. So one night he staggered over next-door, bass in hand, and the Treats were born.

The Treats sound is driven by Andrew's vocal melodies and raw guitar combined with the limber rhythm swing of drummer Don and bassist Tim. The Madison, WI trio's music draws heavily from traditional rock & roll and pop, as well as incorporating elements of hard rock, blues, punk, country, folk, and psychedelia. The result is an excitingly diverse sound with songs ranging anywhere from brash and swaggering rockers and high-octane blues numbers to wistful ballads and dreamy pop tunes.
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The Treats' "Reservoir Tales" was picked as Madison's top album of 2007 in Isthmus weekly.

"furious energy, vital, alive"
-Rick's Café

"Reservoir Tales is a heck of a record. This is a southern monster."
-Black and White Magazine

"The kind of reckless abandon that great rock is made of."
-Al Ritchie, Isthmus

"The Treats are, quite simply, rock 'n' roll, and thank God for that."
-Coreweekly

"Go see this band."
-Sally Franson, Isthmus