Touching various genres, including dream-pop, electronic, and indie, Borer Treetops returns with the album Fifth Fundamental Force – a work surmising a mysterious power beyond the four fundamental forces described by physics (the strong force, the weak force, the electromagnetic force, and the gravitational force): the persistent power of love. Does Fifth Fundamental Force successfully weave this powerful, binding emotion throughout the foundational tenets of the universe? Let’s hit the highlights.
Wait. Who does what?
Roberto P. is the sole writer/performer behind Borer Treetops, so he’s responsible for the immersive, dreamy, keyboard-based, psychedelia-sprinkled music currently chiming through my headphones.
Now, about those highlights…
The album opens with “Equilibrium,” and it’s a nimble, assertive beginning. It kicks off with soft, recurring chords joined by more layers, and then a plucking, delay-drenched lead on top. With phasing synth-pad, electric guitar passages, and vocals struggling to find cohesive atomic bonds within the infinite void, “Equilibrium” is certainly a strong, transportive start.
Track #3, “Frying Pan,” starts with a muttering crowd before hitting a phasing electric guitar chord. When the vocals come in, they’re delayed and distant, perhaps communicated through delicate waveforms produced from an unidentified source bobbing just above the atmosphere. Love the lush layering here that, although broad and full, doesn’t oversaturate – in fact, it’s just right.
Track #5, “Screen 1,” brings back that ringing, subtly phasing guitar with synth-morphed drips and drops trickling between said guitar’s higher-register frequencies. This is a well-paced track that gives just the right amount of space for every single sound, and Roberto P.’s measured vocal delivery.
Track #7, “Charades,” starts with a phasing, spacey string reminding me of Star Trek’s opening theme. “Charades” brings in a sitar-like guitar, Roberto’s relaxed voice, and either a female singer, or Roberto’s falsetto accompaniment. There’s a nice walking bass line here as this relaxed song takes its time to make an immersive statement.
“Leaks,” the penultimate track, begins with a more ominous guitar arpeggio – a melodic reminder that space is vast, and rather unforgiving. But, if you remember the previously mentioned persistence (and power) of love, you can feel it here – it breaks through the dark, and lifts with bright, pulsing radiation the always black curtains covering most of perceived space.
The album ends with track #10, “Chisholm.” Again, we have our ringing guitar, a glassy, wavering synth-pad, and an opening, grounding guitar lead. With Roberto P.’s distant, proclaimed-through-the-clouds vocals, “Chisolm” sounds, musically, as if answering a challenge. And the song girds itself, accepts said challenge, and through human, spiritual perseverance, eventually overcomes.
Layers come and go here, with chiming, rubbery science fiction vibes, cosmic strings glistening as passing stars, and then a reduction as the guitar takes center stage. We’re then led to the song’s end with a final, space-string-layered chorus and assertive, supporting bass. “Chisolm” is certainly an epic ending to such an epic musical undertaking.
But is it good?
Fifth Fundamental Force takes one on a journey – a journey through forces indescribable, and oft-times unmanageable. But the album, through its music, shows that humanity – that love – is just as essential as any pervasive cosmic building block carved across billions of years, and through the undulating, unrelenting construction/destruction responsible for our current physical footing. If you’re wondering what it sounds like to weave humanity’s heart throughout reality’s profound fabric, I think we found the perfect album. Recommended.
BELOW: Listen to Borer Treetops and check them out on SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Music, Instagram, and Facebook. Please support Borer Treetops by visiting their website and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing their music. And, as always, thank you for supporting real music.
(Want to have your music reviewed on The Ark of Music? Click HERE.)