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.
Going to www.thetreats.net will offer information as to the specific Madison area music stores, such as B-Side Records, that sell the Paint Your Blood album.