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Album review: 'Tree of Shade'



'Tree of Shade'


The Binghamton band Driftwood is back with "A Tree of Shade," another collection of warm and earthy songs that feel rooted in indie Americana but bloom into full-blown, radio-ready pop. Driftwood strikes a balance between dirt-road weariness and wide-eyed optimism; the lyrics are bittersweet and earnest, but the music is consistently smile-inducing.

Two songs practically beg for a singalong: "Lay Like You Do," a brilliant piece of country-folk ear candy, and the closing cut "Hello," with its particularly strong performance from Dan Forsyth on lead vocals. The insightful "Conquering Man" is a pop-country toe-tapper about navigating gender politics from a female perspective, featuring the soul-stirring vocal flair of Claire Byrne. There's a welcome change of pace toward the album's end, when the glossy studio sheen starts to come off on the folksier, more intimate title track and "Santa Fe."