Driven by Victoria Bergsman's musical curiosity, instantly recognizable vocals and unshakable melancholy, Taken by Trees amassed an impressive catalog of works over a relatively short period of time. After releasing an album that sounded like a more fragile and orchestrated version of what she had been doing with the Concretes, Bergsman next explored Middle Eastern-influenced sounds on 2009's East of Eden, then dove into tropical pop on 2012's Other Worlds. After taking a long break from making music, she returned in 2018 with Yellow to Blue, an album that transposed her reliably tender vocals into a modern pop setting.
Having served as the Concretes' enigmatic, melancholy frontwoman for over a decade, Bergsman left the band in 2006 following the release of the group's sophomore album, In Colour. The vocalist and songwriter didn't waste any time getting started on a new project. Adopting the name Taken by Trees, she recorded four songs ("Tell Me," "Too Young," "Lost and Found," and "Hours Pass Like Centuries") with PB&J's Björn Yttling and made them available online in the fall of 2006. The new recordings found Bergsman abandoning the Concretes' sprightly sound in favor of something more somber that put her in league with Camera Obscura and El Perro del Mar. Taken by Trees' first full-length, Open Field, was released on Rough Trade in 2007. The next year saw the release of two singles: "Sweetness," which came out on Chico Records, and a cover of Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child of Mine."
For the next Taken by Trees album, Bergsman wanted to try something different so she and recording engineer Andreas Söderström traveled to Pakistan to record with local musicians. The resulting album, East of Eden, was released in 2009. Her next record was inspired by a trip to Hawaii and the notion of making music that combined the lazily sweet, Hawaiian-inspired "Diamond Head" by the Beach Boys with Augustus Pablo's deeply dubby "AP Spezial." Working again with Söderström and for the first time with producer Henning Fürst (of Swedish duo the Tough Alliance,) Bergsman recorded most of the album on the island of Hawaii before shifting to L.A., where Dan Horne and Farmer Dave Scher (of Beachwood Sparks) added some sounds to the mix. The finished work, Other Worlds, was released in October 2012 by her new label, Secretly Canadian.
Following that record, Bergsman took a step away from making music. She did appear as a guest vocalist on Blackstrap's 2013 single "Make Sense Make Change" and on Jesse Kival's 2017 EP Contact, but Taken by Trees were basically on hiatus until the release of 2018's Yellow to Blue. Self-released and financed, the record found Bergsman turning towards a shiny, modern pop sound. The songs were co-written by Ariel Rechtshaid, whose work with Haim is a touchstone for the album's sound. Bergsman shared production duties with Jesse Shatkin, whose CV includes big names like Kelly Clarkson and Sia. ~ Margaret Reges