Towers and Trees
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Towers and Trees

Victoria, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Victoria, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Rock Pop




"Review – “The West Coast” – Towers and Trees"

A question for you, dear reader: what is the “west coast sound?” Is it the sound of acoustic guitars gathered around a beach bonfire? The sound of a high-def camera zooming over a lush Pacific treescape, IMAX-style? The immensely varied, college-tested alternative-pop stylings that sit on spectra from baroque to intellectual to brash to experimental?

Towers and Trees certainly have a geographic claim to being standard-bearers for the archetype. The band hails from Victoria, BC, and their latest record, the almost redundantly titled The West Coast, was produced in the misty island nook of Nanoose Bay by local Alex Aligizakis, whose work with bands like We Hunt Buffalo and Bend Sinister has found much critical acclaim in the province’s music scene.

And to be sure, West Coast is a fantastic-sounding record. There’s a cinematic sense of scope and scale to much of the album, a bright and clear energy that comes through in the drawling country-rock melodies, rich acoustic guitars, smooth vocals and wide open rock drum sounds, the compelling use of arpeggios and chord shifts to create motion, and the way each song’s chorus seems to arrive with the invigorating swell and impact of a crashing whitecap. There are stylistic nods to everything from Big Wreck to Dire Straits to John Butler Trio to John Mayer to Jack Johnson, especially in the diverse guitar arrangements. Harmonies on songs like “West Coast Man” and “We’re Not Islands” shimmer and intertwine with genuine intimacy.

That being said, what The West Coast does so well in terms of its sonic construction, it undoes, to a certain extent, with its approach to theme and feel. There are not one but two songs that remind us exactly where we’re supposed to be on this record – the aforementioned “West Coast Man” and “West Coast / Tide II.” Frontman Adrian Chalifour has constructed such a panoply of metaphors about waves and mountains, crossings and islands, tides and so on, that the record soon feels as though it leans too hard on a particular free-spirited, rockin’ yet wholesome set of lyrical and musical tropes that it believes ought to define “coastalness.” Songs that initially inspire awe by soaring into huge choruses and whoa-ing uplifts on the album’s first few tracks become predictable by mid-record, only to trade off for a few earnest meet-cute ballads with little in the way of substance.

There are songs that make for notable exceptions to this observation: they often correlate with the moments that Chalifour and his band decide to strip their style down and introduce subtle organic elements to the front of the mix. “Bad Heart” gets hugely appealing mileage from a dark, lovely, smokey groove, and album closer “Hearts on Fire” lets him and vocalist Andrea Lubberts trade genuinely moving lines over a beautiful duet of piano and cello. For such a sonically appealing record that positively drips with production values and careful attention to detail, The West Coast succeeds only when it lets listeners travel further into the deep woods than the postcard-perfect version of its aesthetic might suggest. - - Chris Matei

"Review – Towers and Trees"

Victoria, BC band Towers and Trees are just about to release their first full length album “The West Coast” on October 2nd. The band makes up Adrian Chalifour and some friends from Victoria who also play music.

The album starts with the song “West Coast Man”. I thought this was perfect to begin the album with considering the album is called “The West Coast”. Each of the songs flow into one another and that is something that I really enjoyed throughout the album.

Each song on the album sounds different and that is something I enjoyed because it kept me wanting more. Chalifour’s voice is beautiful and he is a very talented artist and that is why this album is an amazing album.

It was hard to me to find a favourite on this album because every one of the songs was so well written. If I had to choose a favourite though it would be “West Coast/Tide II.

I would suggest picking up the album because you will not be disappointed. This is going to be put on my playlist when it comes out.

Rating: 5/5 - - Lindsay Newman


Today marks the long-awaited release of Towers and Trees’ first LP “The West Coast.” Luckily for me, I got a hold of a pre-release copy last week for backing their Kickstarter this past October. Already a fan of their melodic harmonies, soulful lyrics, and stellar live show, I was eager to hear “The West Coast.”

I downloaded it and listened, and listened, and listened. I let the perfectly produced tracks, the powerful bass lines, immaculate guitars, and humbling strings wash over me as I imbibed the pure intoxication of keys, horns, and vocals.

However, the more I listened to “The West Coast,” the more I felt I was being beckoned to share in something greater, something fierce and deeply personal. Like its namesake, there is more to “The West Coast” once you release yourself into its wake. The emotion in the lyrics, tonality, right down to the careful instrumentation choices, is an evocative journey that, like the strongest undertow, will pull you in and sweep you away when you least expect it.

The album starts with the simple, happy innocence of “West Coast Man,” a song full of hopes, dreams, and the inescapable naïveté of adolescence. Once you’ve dipped your toes in, you venture into “FREE” a happy tune that follows our narrator though the exuberant feeling of change and new beginnings.

Feeling confident that you know where the album is going, you wade up to your belly button — you know, that part where you’re in the water but you haven’t fully committed to the chill you’ll feel when you dive in — when suddenly, the aptly named “Tide I” sweeps by and the mood changes, plunging you into its depths. The easy joy of “West Coast Man” is gone as the album progresses into its depths exploring themes of loss, change, and the agony of a broken heart, all culminating in the standout track “Bad Heart,” a stripped down lament that’s more full of soul (sole?) than the entire Pacific.

Without a chance to surface for air, you’re swept into a journey of loss, remorse, anger, and sadness leading into the emotional pleas of “Last Breath” to the final enthymematic release of “Hearts on Fire (Letting Go).”

From front to back, the entire album is pure catharsis; an ode to embracing loss and learning how to love, and be loved, again. Just as the earth and moon have come together to control the ebb and flow of the tide, Towers & Trees have come together in perfect synchrony to master “The West Coast.”

“The West Coast” is not a self-indulgent geographical brag to those who may live elsewhere. It is a siren’s call to change, to growth, and to becoming a better version of yourself. Just let go and see where the current takes you.

Congratulations Towers & Trees. This album is a labour of love, and it shows. Pure aural ecstasy. - - Kirsten James

"Changing of the Tide : A Review of Towers and Trees, “The West Coast”"

A few years ago, I spent some time in Europe. The trip home to Victoria BC was arduous- it took about seventeen hours of straight travel. I was bleary eyed and exhausted, but I will always remember what it felt like to return to the coast for the first time. Getting on the ferry and feeling the sea wind hit my face. Seeing the mountains in the distance- friendly and protective. Tasting the salt and realizing how green the ocean was. I cried with the beauty of this place I had once taken for granted. This place that I loved with a new rapture. I had not known that I was drowning until I came home and could breathe again.

That is what listening to the new Towers and Trees album is like. Aptly named The West Coast, this album is the next best thing you can get to actually being in British Columbia. From the moment I listened to the first track West Coast Man my first thought was “I need to get my headphones” . Because I selfishly did not want any of the music to reach anyone else. I wanted to scoop it up into my belly so that it could feed my soul. Band leader and front man Adrian Chalifour’s husky alto is inviting as always, but this time it’s accompanied by the beautiful accent of vocalist Andrea Lubberts. Where once there was a monologue, now there is an exchange and their chemistry is clear.

For those fans of the bands EP Broken Record you will not be disappointed. Much like the song they redid for this album We’re Not Islands this has all of the best elements of the first album (Chalifour’s songwriting as one example, the stellar harmonizing of the band as another) but improves upon them. The diversity of sound in this album is impressive without being overwhelming or distracting. West Coast has more dynamics, more nuance and more to offer. In short- it’s just bigger. If Broken Record was an aperatif for fans, then West Coast is the meal we’ve been salivating for. And you had better be hungry. The whole album reads like a love letter to the setting where it was created and that love is palpable to the listener. West Coast Man is a rejoicing opening anthem, about reveling in the place where you belong while also functioning as an invitation for that which will follow. In short- it’s as welcoming as the place itself.

Free is a song that I saw the band perform a few years ago when it was still being conceived and it’s remarkable how much it has evolved. It’s the anthem of renegades everywhere, the song you listen to when you want to escape your life. “We ain’t free but we could act just like we are.” The lyrics have always been great but now they’re accompanied by soaring crescendos and rhythms that make your heart race. Free is a song that demands movement- you can’t sit still and listen to it.

However the album is not exclusively devoted to the place it describes. Certain songs like Last Breath and Wayward Love are downright heartbreaking. They are tortured lamentations built for walking Ogden Point in stormy weather after you’ve had your heart broken. “What if it’s my job to love you?” Chalifour wonders.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Love Song for No Girl In Particular laps at you like a warm bath. It plays with you with deceptively simple melodies and harmonies. This is a song for Tofino sunsets and Stanley Park afternoons- this is the song where you feel as if you’re in love just by listening to it. It’s fun and sexy and flirtatious without being saccharine.

All I can say about their new single “Bad Heart” is that it will get you pregnant. You were warned.

If you haven’t heard their music before, or if you’ve been to every single concert, you’re in for a treat. Don’t trust me, trust them. Towers and Trees are going to make you love them, for all the right reasons. These guys are all about music that makes you care, and heal and feel. This is the music that makes you realize why you love music. Because it’s deliberate and thoughtful. These are the musicians and artists we have a responsibility to cultivate.

As I write this, I’m thousands of miles from the West Coast. I am sitting at a desk in a landlocked city. I haven’t seen the ocean in months. West Coast, the title track of the album is a song that stings my heart, it’s so bittersweet. “Come away” Chalifour begs. “I WISH I COULD!” I always yell back in my head. So to the band, I have to step out of my critical voice now and just say thank you. Thank you for making an album with so much heart it overflows. Thank you for making music that matters. And as one of many West Coast lovers who isn’t lucky enough to live there, thank you for giving me a little piece of home. Your album helps me breathe. - Justanotherhystericalfemale blog

"Doors open for Victoria folk-rockers Towers and Trees"

Towers and Trees enjoyed a breakout year in 2015, one that saw the Victoria group play to the biggest crowds of its career, release its first full-length album, The West Coast, and headline a tour of Western Canada for the first time.

Progress notwithstanding, singer-songwriter Adrian Chalifour can’t help but feel a little worn out by the experience. The folk-rock collective gave everything it had to give and hit the road and the studio with purpose. Perhaps a partial letdown was inevitable, Chalifour said.

“At times, fatigue can come with trying to find the pieces that can make this machine go, and the process of coming to terms when some of those pieces fall off,” he said. “But there is a comfort and inspiration that comes from knowing that, over the three years, more doors have opened than have closed.”

The group has three dates remaining on its tour to support The West Coast, beginning with a stop Friday at Sugar. The group had December off, so Chalifour is looking forward to a Vancouver Island run that also includes appearances at the Queens in Nanaimo on Saturday and a Jan. 23 stop in Courtenay at the Sid Williams Theatre.

Their homecoming show at Sugar is sold out in advance, which isn’t surprising given the raucous reception the group received in September at the annual Rifflandia festival. The band performed twice during the festival, once at the 800-seat Alix Goolden Performance Hall and a second time before thousands at the Royal Athletic Park side stage. In both cases, they stepped up admirably.

“That was a coming of age thing for sure,” Chalifour said of the performances. “That whole weekend was. It was definitely a milestone. We came out on the other side of that weekend thinking: ‘Something happened there.’ ”

The dates came nearly two weeks prior to the Oct. 2 release of The West Coast, but fans sang along heartily with the material, an indication that Towers and Trees had made inroads in the local music community.

The band spun that success into a string of November dates through B.C. and Alberta, a run that included some sold-out stops. The Chilliwack date drew a huge turnout.

“I don’t know how people found our music in Chilliwack,” Chalifour said, “but they found it.”

Given that it was the first headlining tour, Chalifour couldn’t help but marvel at the turn of events.

“There is only so much you can take credit for. We work pretty hard and try and do our best, but on some level, momentum — I don’t know where it comes from. I don’t think I need to understand where it comes from. But we can sense it.”

The response to The West Coast couldn’t have been better, Chalifour said.

He took an emotional plunge in writing the record. The band’s first full-length album was destined to include details of a 12-year relationship that included a seven-year marriage, which ended in divorce as Towers and Trees was beginning “to find its feet,” Chalifour said.

At first, 31-year-old Chalifour wasn’t sure if writing about his personal life in such raw detail was a good idea. But as the songs poured out, an arc he couldn’t deny presented itself.

“I had a story to tell, and writing it was my way of going through it, of making sense of it. I was single for what felt like the first time as an adult, and was coping with how I thought life would look like from the trajectory I was on, and the process of getting derailed from that.”

A range of emotions — anger, hurt, hope — are evident on the recording. Both sides of Chalifour’s journey — the search and the discovery — found a home on The West Coast.

“It’s an album that believes in love, even in the midst of leaving it. I wanted it to be about looking forward at the line on the horizon while letting things go.”

The lineup for Friday’s show at Sugar will feature Chalifour and his longtime collaborators in the group, guitarist Dave Zellinsky and drummer Jesse Boland. The current membership, which also includes new bassist Dave Arter and keyboardist James Liira, will expand further for Friday, with the addition of multi-instrumentalist Ben Lubberts and singer Andrea Lubberts.

The couple are stepping away from band duties following the show to prepare for the birth of their second child.

The couple’s final bow will be bittersweet for Chalifour, who recorded the first Towers and Trees material at Lubberts’ apartment.

“It’s not easy having to say goodbye to people,” he said.

Chalifour knows that all too well at this point. But he’s hopeful for what lies ahead. - Time Colonist - Mike Devlin


2015 - The West Coast LP
2012 - Broken Record EP



West Coast (Official Video)

Bad Heart (Live Video)

Bad Heart / Devil On The Highway (Live at Sugar Nightclub)

Montreal (Official Video)

“The emotion in the lyrics, tonality, right down to the careful instrumentation choices, is an evocative journey that, like the strongest undertow, will pull you in and sweep you away when you least expect it.” ~

Earnestness and vulnerability are two qualities not always present (or welcome) in this digital age of music. Yet true to the cover image of their newest album The West Coast, Towers and Trees have chosen to bare all and sprint headlong into those waters. From the soaring optimism of its anthems to the raw simplicity of its quieter moments, The West Coast could not plant its heart more firmly on its sleeve.

T&T lead singer/songwriter Adrian Chalifour describes it as “an album that believes in love even in the midst of losing it.” It is anchored firmly in personal experience, with stories pulled from the wreckage of loss and the rush of self-discovery that inevitably follows: “Shortly before Towers and Trees took off, I was going through a divorce and the end of a 13-year-long relationship that traced back to high-school. Diving headlong into music was my way of staving off the grieving process and reaffirming my identity in a newly wide-open world,” explains Chalifour. Yet in quieter moments, the grief found its way through the cracks. “The whole time we were promoting our first album, I was writing these heartbroken songs at the same time as songs about hope, romance and the horizon.”

Rather than compartmentalizing or shying away from the duality of this narrative, Towers and Trees have chosen to embrace it on The West Coast, weaving a cohesive journey through love, loss and ultimately forgiveness.

The group worked with accomplished producer/engineer Alex “Condor” Aligizakis (Bend Sinister, We Hunt Buffalo) to craft a sonic landscape where every layer and lyric is placed with the kind of intention and restraint indicative of the group’s maturity. The resulting waves of sound are as dynamic and unpredictable as the album’s namesake. Soaring harmonies and thundering percussion roll into close moments of unflinching introspection.

The West Coast’s bold studio production – recorded at Electric City Sound (Victoria) and Aligizakis’s own Bird’s Nest Studio (Nanoose Bay) – stands in stark contrast to their home-recorded debut Broken Record. Yet the continuity of their key strengths – rich sound and poignant songwriting – make The West Coast feel like a fitting next step.

If Broken Record was an aperatif for fans, then The West Coast is the meal we’ve been salivating for. And you had better be hungry.”(hystericalfemaleblog)

Towers and Trees are currently touring Western Canada and beyond in support of The West Coast. Their live show has been heralded as “spectacular” ( and “one of the greatest shows I have ever witnessed” (Jon Williams, the Zone). Since the surprise success of their debut EP, which earned national radio play and a spot in the 2013 PEAK Performance Project, they have amassed a steady stream of achievements that include commercial, college and CBC radio play, award nominations, licensing deals, festival bookings and sold-out shows throughout Canada.

“A true breath of fresh air that creates a sonic landscape and beautiful imagery…. watching them perform this live was an incredible experience.” (Songs in the Valley)

Band Members