Music

Revenge of the Trees rocks with a conscience

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“It was a pretty good, standard tour: our van broke down a few times, everyone got sick, I lost my voice for a few shows,” laughs Mikey Muscat, vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist and saxophonist for Revenge of the Trees.

The local prog-rock four-piece recently wrapped up a two-week jaunt across Canada in support of its new album, Into the Night. The group had already logged some miles in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba after releasing a self-titled disc in 2013, but this was the band’s first time venturing into BC, and Muscat notes everything was well-received—illnesses and mechanical failures aside.

With any luck, Revenge of the Trees got its tour woes out of the way and the rest of its support for the album will be smooth sailing. The five-track Night was released earlier in April, and its lyrics are a testament to Muscat’s interest in political and environmental issues.

“It’s definitely something I’ve always been interested in, but probably in the last five or six years, that’s the time that I’ve really been trying to change my lifestyle in accordance to those beliefs,” Muscat adds. “As a kid I was always the one trying to stop other kids from burning bugs with magnifying glasses and busting up ant hills; I was always the one trying to protect all the little creatures and yelling at my dad for trying to put mouse traps around.”

Muscat’s proclivity for these issues led him to participate in his fair share of protests while living in Toronto. Since moving to Edmonton about four-and-a-half years ago, he admits he hasn’t been quite as involved in protesting, but he has made lifestyle changes in terms of the food he buys and the businesses he supports.

“I really try not to be preachy,” he notes of his music. “I want to be able to reach as wide an audience as I can and just have people be interested in the music, and when they look into it a little deeper they’re like, ‘Oh, there’s a bit more to this music than some cool riffs.'”

The gritty riffs and poignant lyrics have resonated with audiences so far—particularly the blue-collar anthem “Workin'” amongst oilfield workers, Muscat notes. But it’s not all serious: Muscat says the title track is the first song he’s written in the past few years that hasn’t revolved around any socio-political issues of any sort.

“It’s actually about a fun night I had last summer long boarding with a bunch of friends,” he says, adding that its counterpart, “Into the Night Part 2” concludes the album on a different note. “One of my friends [described] it as dancing to the end of the world. It’s got a feel that it could be seen as a bit more positive, but then the lyrics are a bit more doom and gloom. They just sort of fit together; we thought it would be cool to make it more of a piece.”

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