By essentially "repeating the language of the land and the sky," the Screaming Trees
accurately portray the organic spirit of the Pacific Northwest. On tracks such as "Cold Rain" and "In the Forest" their narrative landscapes are not only expressed by the seasoned voice of Mark Lanegan
but also by the rich complexity of their song structures. While drummer Mark Pickerel
and guitarists Gary Lee
and Van Conner
provide the energy of a classic garage band, producer Steve Fisk
molds their groundwork and pop sensibilities into the realms of proto-grunge. Along with fellow SST labelmates Sonic Youth
and Dinosaur Jr.
, the Screaming Trees
served as true pioneers of the burgeoning genre. With distorted guitars and meaningful poetics becoming the norm of the late '80s, Even If and Especially When
stands as a commendable album and a telling preview of what was to later come from the Seattle scene.