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Album Reviews

Album Review: Letting Up Despite Great Faults – IV

 

 

Release Date: 4.03.22

Record Label: Self-Released

For Fans Of: Ulrich Schnauss, Slowdive, New Order

 

 

Shoegaze as a genre can be characterised in a few pretty obvious ways, but predominantly it’s music of texture. Harmony, melody and rhythm come second place to timbre itself. It’s music you can touch and physically experience rather than simply hear. Letting Up Despite Great Faults’ eight years is no exception to this rule. Stepping outside of the usual lilting chainsaw attack of bands like My Bloody Valentine and Swervedriver, Letting Up Despite Great Faults’s approach is resolutely digital.  IV, surprisingly enough the band’s fourth studio album, lives in a landscape of retro video game soundtracks. Bit crushed and very purposefully low in resolution. It’s the sound of exploring two dimensional underwater kingdoms, or collecting hundreds of precious rings along raceways in the sky.

Album opener Kisses slowly lowers you into a world of washed out synthesisers….or are they guitars? Part of the intrigue is in that blurring. Instruments appear and disappear disguised as one another, wearing great cloaks of robotic invisibility. You can hear the influence of mid-2000s dreampop bedroom electronica all over this record. The ghost of Ulrich Schnauss haunting each chord change and minimal drum machine rhythm. Tracks like Gorgeous and Curl mimic Schauss’ love of granular chords and modified bit depths, while darting between a kind of Moe Tucker inspired starkness in the latter and Drum ’n’ Bass total frenetic maximalism in the former.

IV doesn’t entirely live in the realm of CPU’s however. Live guitar and bass litter the record with Post Punk and early Goth influence. New Ground being a straight up Head On The Door era Cure worship track, Softly, Bravely conjuring visions of C86 jangle and closer Self Portrait borrowing heavily from New Orders playbook. Modulating guitars and Fisette’s whisper quiet vocals make the latter a particular highlight for this lowly writer.

Letting Up Despite Great Faults are very obviously music obsessives and that really shows throughout IV. Repeated listens throw out ever increasing nods and references to records and bands they worship. This is an album for people like them. People obsessed with Peter Hook’s bass sound on Ceremony, or the cadence of Ana Da Silva’s voice on Animal Rhapsody. Music nerds unite and eat your fill.

Rating: 7/10

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