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No. 5ive Longplayer

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Album Review

The first track, "Alushta," shifts back and forth between 7/4 and 12/4 time. That tells you something right off: these guys are smart and they practice a lot. And there are no vocals on the album, which also tells you something: they probably have day jobs. The first full-length from this quartet (their four-song EP reportedly charted fairly well with CMJ in 1997) is an awfully pretty affair, with lots of shimmery guitar counterpoint, weird time signatures, melodies that are attractive without ever really being hummable, and interesting textural choices that include pedal steel licks, cello, Byrds-y 12-string, and trumpet. This is one of those bands that people consider themselves clever for liking, but that's no reason not to like the Letter E yourself. "Better Days" is one of the loveliest pieces of instrumental rock ever committed to plastic, and the slow, metronomic "Mary Bahtyarli," with its interlocked guitars and subtle cello lines, is even better. The heavier stuff is a bit less distinctive, but everything here is worth hearing. Recommended.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Brooklyn, NY instrumental quartet the Letter E assembled post-rock all-stars Sean Meadows (previously known for his work with June of 44, the Sonora Pine and Lungfish in addition to the solo Everlasting the Way project) and Curtis Harvey (of Rex and Pullman fame) in conjunction with Blue Man Group veteran Josh Matthews and Enis Sefersah. Though recorded in late 1997, the Letter E's self-titled debut EP did not see official...
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