What if you woke up in a world where the Alan Parsons Project and King Crimson recorded children’s music? Well, have no fear – Pointed Man Band (Dan Elliott) had the same vision, and his latest release, Amongst the Tall Trees, delivers exactly that sort of perception, interwoven with childlike wonder and whimsy.
The TV series Twin Peaks showed that the Pacific Northwest is a region of profound mystery and hypnotic music. In that vein, Dan Elliott’s music as Pointed Man Band celebrates the customs and culture of growing up, without sentimentality, conjuring up comparisons to the late Harry Nilsson‘s quick flirtation with children’s music (essentially the soundtracks to The Point and Robert Altman’s Popeye).
Children’s music has fragmented to where there are now whole categories – folk, rock, jazz, blues, World, and experimental new age (STEVENSTEVEN) and Pointed Man Band. Elliott captures the sound of a daydreamer, sharing his vision on songs like “Pint Size,” “Eagle Creek,” and “Vs. People,” which sounds like Brian Eno producing Yes. For the jaunty “Dark Divide,” the title doesn’t precisely jibe with the inner argument of nature versus nurture:
Oh! Hey! Hurray for the rain that will wash it all away! For the rivers and streams and the nature of things Who can remain unseen through the decades. To the moss and the ferns and the moisture in turn Amongst the tall trees and the pristine Between the dew and the pines you find that animal minds Go beyond what they may seem.
The artwork of Amongst the Tall Trees captures your attention as well. Portland illustrator Brooke Weeber delivers cover paintings that harken to Roger Dean‘s famed fantasy landscapes for Yes and Asia. The scope of Elliott’s vision has also attracted performers such as Recess Monkey‘s Jack Forman and Johnny Clay (Ants Ants Ants) on tracks like the mostly instrumental “April Fools.” The album is a singular, genial message of fun and exploration through “new age” music sensibilities. Your youngest may miss the forest, but they should still enjoy their time amongst the trees.
Here is the full Pointed Man Band performing their song “The Cardoons”: