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The International Treasures - Together, We Are The International Treasures (self-released)

19 August 2023

Doyle Turner and Ted Hajnasiewicz have already made plenty of cool and exciting contributions to the music canon. As individuals, they can easily be seen as local legends in their Minnesota home patch, regional ones to watch across the Mid-West, and as rising stars on the national scene. But, as their album title says, together, they are indeed nothing short of international treasures. Some might feel that it is a name that would be a lot to live up to. But not to me because I have been giving their album plenty of spins, and they and their songs more than live up to the title. (Although I suspect there is more than a hint of humor regarding their chosen, collaborative moniker.)

“Wild” might be the point of contact for many, especially if you are new recruits to the IT crowd (and if that isn’t the name of their fan club, it should be); their recent single and a song neatly encapsulating much of what the band is about. It blends acoustic guitars and twin harmonies, plucky mandolin lines, washes of pedal steel guitar, wandering violins, and some wonderfully poetic lyrics—a great capsule for the band’s sound.

But, as is always the case, one single does not an album make. “Best If I Forget” blends in some gentle alt-country energy, a roots tune slashed through with electric guitar gusto, “Run A Little Faster” is a cool country groove driven on rock ‘n’ roll pace, and “I’ll Do What I Can” is a gorgeously heartfelt ballad, but one built of anthemic qualities as well as passionate deliveries.

The International Treasures is a band that knows how to rock out and get the room moving, the party started and the people dancing, but I find them at their most rewarding when they slow things down and allow all the music time to pool and percolate in the listers heart. Songs such as “Cut-Out Bin”, “Stay Safe Out There”, and “Anywhere With You” use the various instruments sparingly and seductively and sometimes opt for the power of space instead, allowing for atmosphere and anticipation to do the work for them. A courageous and clever concept indeed.

It’s a fantastic album, one that is deftly cut from the instruments and ideas available, one which is often brilliantly underplayed. Even when the band is in full flight, there is always plenty of room to hear every instrument at work, and with a band this good, with songs this well constructed and lyrics that paint so many great pictures, you are going to want to savour every musical morsel.