9 Songs, 32 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

On the second album by the Austin/L.A. band Letting Up Despite Great Faults, dreamy murk-pop gives way to sharper hooks and crackling, disco ball–reflecting rhythms. Though some may deride this album for borrowing from a particular early-'80s sound, the songs here have enough original flourishes and graceful metamorphoses to give the band its own identity. "Visions" opens with glassy shards of guitar and keys, but soon a warm, New Order–ish bass melody comes to the forefront. Michael Lee's breathy vocals further soften the brittle tones, which shift to more of a twinkle than a crackle as the tune slowly morphs into a swirling dance-floor number that helicopters off into the night. Those bass lines and snapping electronic drums are just too tempting a combo for melancholy alt-pop of this nature (dreamy, dancy, one optimistic step away from resignation), so the omniscience here is forgivable. And imbuing the entire collection with a palpable bittersweetness, befitting every mood from Monday-morning blues to Saturday-night abjection, surely charms the band's intended youthful audience.

EDITORS’ NOTES

On the second album by the Austin/L.A. band Letting Up Despite Great Faults, dreamy murk-pop gives way to sharper hooks and crackling, disco ball–reflecting rhythms. Though some may deride this album for borrowing from a particular early-'80s sound, the songs here have enough original flourishes and graceful metamorphoses to give the band its own identity. "Visions" opens with glassy shards of guitar and keys, but soon a warm, New Order–ish bass melody comes to the forefront. Michael Lee's breathy vocals further soften the brittle tones, which shift to more of a twinkle than a crackle as the tune slowly morphs into a swirling dance-floor number that helicopters off into the night. Those bass lines and snapping electronic drums are just too tempting a combo for melancholy alt-pop of this nature (dreamy, dancy, one optimistic step away from resignation), so the omniscience here is forgivable. And imbuing the entire collection with a palpable bittersweetness, befitting every mood from Monday-morning blues to Saturday-night abjection, surely charms the band's intended youthful audience.

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3:44
3:32
3:25
4:12
3:32
3:36
3:17
2:46
4:18

About Letting Up Despite Great Faults

The brainchild of Los Angeles musician Michael Lee, who grew up taking piano lessons and listening to bands like Orbital and the Chemical Brothers, Letting Up Despite Great Faults formed in 2004. After recording a handful of demo tracks, the band released the seven-song EP, Movement, on L.A.'s New Words Records in 2006, earning them accolades in the blogosphere and a song ("Disasters Are Okay") on the television program One Tree Hill. In late 2009, Letting Up Despite Great Faults released their self-titled full-length on New Words, an album Lee recorded in his own home on Ableton Live, a program he had only recently learned. (Though most of the instruments were recorded by Lee himself, for both releases, he utilized the talents of bassist Kent Zambrana and guitarist Patrick Staples, as well as vocalists Lorealle Bishop, Rachel Koukal, and Amy Izushima on the LP). The album, a mix between Postal Service, Lali Puna, and +/-, and mastered by veteran engineer Jeff Lipton of Magnetic Fields' fame, received more attention in the online music world, and Letting Up Despite Great Faults -- which as a live band consisted of Lee, Zambrana, Koukal, and guitarist Chris Gregory -- continued to play shows around their native California. The EP Paper Crush appeared in 2011. In 2012, Letting Up Despite Great Faults released its sophomore full-length album Untogether on Rallye. ~ Marisa Brown

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