Church of Trees is a Canadian synthpop band, whose debut Primitive Creatures (2017) charted in Japan, the UK, and across Canada. In 2018, they released The Dark & The Light, featuring the #1 single Like Gary Numan.
So far, the band has released 7 albums that have spawned number 1 singles, such as World's a Bitch, Like Gary Numan, and Believe It Or Not. Their albums have been played on 4 continents and have landed on Top Ten charts on college and independent radio in Canada, The UK, and France/Switzerland, as well as Best Of album charts for the years 2017, 2018, 2020, 2021, and 2022.
In 2020, they released the edgy New Bold Dawn, followed by 2021's PAUSE, which included the hit World's a Bitch with rock legend Carole Pope. The 2022 album Pish Posh featured hits such as Progression, Believe it or Not, and Waiting For You. The 2023 album Courage brims with sizzling re-mixes from the Spoons, Rob Preuss, SLAVE to the SQUAREwaves, Rob Stuart, and Ottawa Darkwave band Paragon Cause.
The following describes the 6 albums in the CoT catalogue.
Canadian synthpop/electropop project, Church of Trees dropped their 7th major release, COURAGE, on May 5, 2023.
The band, which leapt onto the world stage in 2017 with its debut EP, Primitive Creatures, explores a range of synth-based flavours on COURAGE, from Bhangra and trance, to darkwave and dance.
The collection of remixes features productions by Slave to the Squarewave's Rob Stuart, Paragon Cause, and former Spoons/Honeymoon Suite keyboardist Rob Preuss.
The lead single Progression – Rob Stuart Numanoid Mix (dropped April 8, 2023) sees Stuart transforming 2022's Progression into an ethereal masterpiece combining Numan-esque flavours into a dark, growling, guitar-tinged banger.
Officially released on February 15, 2022, the Church of Trees (CoT) 6th album, Pish Posh, is proof that the synthpop genre is more vibrant now than ever in its 40-year history.
New faces on the album include veteran Canadian singer, Stella Panacci (Kat Rocket, The Angry Moon, Shella), whose tantalizing tones, glorious range, and superb vocal colour are the “icing on the cake”.
Former Spoons/Honeymoon Suite keyboardist, Rob Preuss is back with a shimmering remix of the pop-banger Just a Little, beautifully sung by Panacci. British-born, Indie-Folk singer, Susan O delivers a stirring performance on the ballad Never Wanna Let You Go, and Darren Douglas Danahy (Keldari Station, Lazy DaDa) provides synths and guitar on Sticky.
Like all its predecessors, Pish Posh was co-produced, mixed, and mastered by Blinker the Star’s Jordon Zadorozny, whose musical pedigree is considerable. Formerly signed to A&M and DreamWorks, Zadorozny has worked with such notables as Courtney Love, Chris Cornell, and Lindsay Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac).
"Jordon's a godsend", says band founder/chief songwriter/keyboardist, Bernard Frazer, "not only does he offer sage advice in the pre-production phase, he is a gem in the studio. He listens to every nuance and makes sure he captures our best performances."
CoT dropped its fifth album PAUSE on March 19th, 2021.
The album kicks off with the debut single World's a Bitch, which features Canadian rock icon, Carole Pope, along with Spoons/Honeymoon Suite keyboardist, Rob Preuss.
Exploring new musical territory while never losing sight of their synth roots, PAUSE is a distinctive mix of electropop, indie edge, and ambient, including 7 new works and 3 Rob Preuss remixes.
The album dials up the energy with the fierce indie-pop track Lost My Job. Sung by bandleader Bernard Frazer, the tune captures the confusing state many are in as they grapple with job loss thanks to the Covid pandemic. It also features the muscly guitar sounds of Jordon Zadorozny (Blinker the Star, Courtney Love, Chris Cornell).
Apart from his work on World's a Bitch, Rob Preuss (Spoons/Honeymoon Suite) also collaborates on the haunting instrumental Ego and Greed, a dark sonic exploration that fuses an Eno aesthetic with Bjork and a touch of Pink Floyd. Preuss also contributes 3 sizzling remixes, including a hi-octane dance club production of World's a Bitch (robpreuss Variant Club Mix), and the supercharged, Nile Rodgers-esque Powerful Love (robpreuss Hypnotize Mix). The remix, Preuss also features former Sting guitar player, Jeffrey Lee Campbell.
On October 28, 2020, CoT introduced Progression, a chronological retrospective of Church of Trees from 2016 to 2020. It weaves together the pivotal songs from the first four years of their journey. Included, are notes and comments by CoT founder, Bernard Frazer, about the making of these songs and the people who helped bring them to life.
NEW BOLD DAWN
New Bold Dawn, released on April 23, 2020, introduced grit and attitude to the CoT sound and heralded CoT’s breakthrough to U.S. College Radio by entering the "top ten most added albums" on the NACC charts.
New Bold Dawn’s edgy synthpop themes reflect on the 2020 pandemic, the climate crisis, and a cartoon president. Dark and brooding, with glimpses of hope, the songs ride a roller-coaster of emotions echoing our strange and uncertain times, and the Impact of Covid-19.
Featuring the powerhouse vocals of Allison Stanton, the velvety tones of Tara Hope and, for the first time, Frazer's own voice, the album introduces a blend of all three, providing a signature sound across many of the tracks on New Bold Dawn.
THE DARK AND THE LIGHT
The Dark and The Light, and its debut single Like Gary Numan, topped charts at number one in the UK, France, and on college radio stations across Canada.
The sophomore CoT release, The Dark and The Light, features some of Canada's finest but lesser known female vocalists, such as DeeDee Butters of The Peptides, and Indie singer/songwriter, Tara Holloway. A sonic shift from the debut EP Primitive Creatures, this album explores a range of styles within the synthpop genre, from an edgy Numan-esque feel (Like Gary Numan, Scream in Silence) to more pop-oriented, danceable grooves (Listen to Love, Good Girl), with a heaping of the unexpected (I Can't Be Loved, Mister Maybe).
The album also features the song Listen to Love, which is co-written and performed with Rob Preuss (formerly of Spoons and Honeymoon Suite). Rob also contributes two extraordinary remixes (or as Rob calls them: rOb PreuSS Versions), one for Like Gary Numan, and one for Scream in Silence.
The Dark & The Light (2018) heralded a brave new sound that bandleader, Bernard Frazer, noted is still very much synth-pop, but edgier. "Sonically, there are flavours that reference early Gary Numan, OMD, and even Goldfrapp".
The Ottawa‐based synth/dream pop project launched its debut EP, Primitive Creatures in February 2017, and proceeded to build a worldwide audience from Japan and the UK to Mexico and Canada. The EP drove to number one on radio charts in cities across Canada, and it finished the year on a host of Top Album lists of 2017.
Take a cup of Grimes, add some finely ground Beach House, and sprinkle in a little of Verona and a dash of Purity Ring, et voila, Church of Trees, for whom being chill and a little other‐worldly comes naturally.
At that time, the Ottawa‐based synth/dream pop duo comprised veteran composer, producer, multi‐instrumentalist Bernard Frazer and vocalist / lyricist Felicity DeCarle. They couldn’t be more different, but those differences produced an EP that percolates with chill grooves, lush synths, catchy melodies, and lyrics that weave fantastical and other‐worldly visions with glimpses of a gritty reality.
The dreamy synth‐laden work received a very warm reception: “Scaling synths and fat bass grooves pulsate from ear to ear, their heavy 80s influence unbroken by DeCarle’s haunting melodies.” ‐ Atwood Magazine, New York.”