The JangleBox

Indie, Noise, Shoegaze… Music

Letting Up Despite Great Faults: Untogether (2012)

Untogether cover art

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Sin hacer demasiado ruido, casi con la boca pequeña y sin estridencias, nos llega este segundo disco de Letting Up Despite Great Faults. Un grupo en el que forzosamente has de detenerte. Primero porque si quieres sacar su nombre en una conversación distendida, te costará trabajo vocalizarlo. Segundo, porque son una de las bandas que siempre tienen su hueco en The JangleBox. Desde la edición de su primer álbum, aquel fantástico disco homónimo, LUDGF han tenido siempre un huequecito en nuestro blog. Untogether no es más que la evolución lógica iniciada en Papercrush, el Ep de 2011, también reseñado en TJB. En este último trabajo, el sonido de la banda de Mike Lee se torna algo más electrónico, dando algo más de protagonismo a los sintes sobre las guitarras. Esa perfecta mezcla de Electropop con trazos Shoegazers es la absoluta protagonista. Los temas se suceden armoniosamente en el reproductor hablando del fin de las relaciones, no necesariamente sentimentales; de lo complicado de esos sentimientos a veces. Su fórmula ha sido utilizada por bandas afines en el espacio y en el tiempo como The Pains of Being Pure at Heart y explotada con mayor éxito comercial. Acaso éso es lo menos importante para este combo afincado en Austin: Letting Up Despite Great Faults son una banda que se conforma con entregarnos esas pequeñas entregas de armonías arropadas por cálidas capas de electrónica (Bulletproof girl; Take my jacket, Pauline; Postcard; Details of my world; Numbered days) o dejarnos esas gemitas agridulces y melancólicas, más cercanas a su antiguo repertorio: Visions, Scratch, Breaking, On your mark
Sea como fuere, y de un modo u otro, LUDGF son una de las bandas favoritas de quien escribe. Su música ha crecido, (casi) paralela al blog, y Untogether es el mejor resultado posible. Si una pequeña mayoría no les quiere reconocer, allá ellos. Su música seguirá acompañándonos.


Letting Up Despite Great Faults is really the perfect moniker for this L.A.-via-Austin dream-pop outfit, one that draws attention to its modest intents while demanding a certain ideological investment: Even the act of uttering the band’s full name in casual conversation requires a commitment to proper diction. Despite their deceptively daydreamy demeanor, they’re a band that makes you work for it. While their second album, Untogether, strongly suggests their definition of an existential crisis amounts to not being able to decide whether their favorite New Order song is “Age of Consent” or “Thieves Like Us”, frontman Michael Lee keeps his hushed, delicate voice at a considerable distance, forcing you to wade through the songs’ fuzz-covered jangle and bright synth shimmer to get at their emotional core. 
At a time when like-minded contemporaries such as M83 and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart have revealed the commercial potential– or at least steady festival guarantees– that can be mined from mid-80s British underground sounds, Letting Up’s commitment to their forebears’ downsized dimensions and twee-as-fuck temperament seems positively defiant. The band gets considerable mileage out of simplicity: Untogether comes fully stocked with the sort of minimal but richly melodic Bernard Sumner-esque guitar patterns (“Scratch”, “Take My Jacket Pauline”) and dry-iced, strobe-lit Hacienda flashbacks (“Postcard”, “Bulletproof Girl”) that make for pure indie pop catnip. And despite working within intimate, drum-machined parameters, the band evinces a greatness of depth to its sound– upon hearing the baritone guitar hook underpinning the effervescent opener “Visions”, it’s natural to mentally substitute in a cello line.
But while Letting Up are game to mix up their production palette– the stuttering breakbeat chorus of “The Best Part” practically verges on drum’n’bass– the impact of these 10 songs is dulled by Lee’s uniformly smeared, sighing vocals, which are too verbose to serve merely as texture, but too sedate to convincingly communicate the interpersonal narratives seemingly at play here. Whether the lyrics call for a tender affirmation like “the best part is you,” or a biting rebuke like “I can’t believe you said those things to me,” the mood is one of constant, hazy-headed serenity; even the secondary vocals of keyboardist Annah Fisette prove to be more of a complement than a counterpoint, a squandered opportunity to introduce some he-said/she-said tension. Ultimately, listening to Untogether feels a lot like receiving a particularly pressing phone call from a significant other in the middle of student-disco dancefloor: You assume what’s being said is important and impassioned, but it’s hard to fully connect with the message” (

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4 diciembre, 2012 Posted by | Letting Up Despite Great Faults | Deja un comentario


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