The Rollo Treadway is one of the most intriguing albums to come along in a long time. The song cycle tells the story of the abduction of a couple of kids, beginning appropriately enough with “Kidnapped;” the children’s realization that things look pretty bleak for them since they’re tied to a chair in some dank, dark spot.

You might expect such a story to be told with some type of bombast, but nothing could be further from reality here. The plot unfolds in complete calmness with echoing Byrds-like guitar, subtle psychedelic effects and most shockingly, sweet Beach Boy-type vocals.

Lead vocalist David Sandholm is an excellent singer (Dare I invoke cliché? This is the best Beach Boys album that was never made), and he really displays a great showcase all the way through. But his use of honeyed harmony vocals to tell such a horrific story is such a genius device that it almost makes the lost world of the psychopath seem appealing.

Even the “ransom note,” delivered during “Dear Mr. Doe,” is sung as if it’s a loving lullaby. I won’t give away the story’s ending, but it wouldn’t matter much if I did; you’ll want to hear the story of poor little Johnny and Kay over and over again.

Grade: A



The Rollo Treadway is currently available.