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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Letting Up Despite Great Faults
Untitled (CD EP)

Thank god that Mike from Letting Up Despite Great Faults put all his info on his demo CD-R because either I lost the paper insert that was inside the package or there wasn't any. And I couldn't read the URL on the outside of the envelope it was sent in! It's funny how it's often turns out like this: the CDs that are terrible come replete with tons of extraneous press and junk, but the really good stuff is almost flying under the radar on purpose. Go figure.

On these three short songs in this demo I got, masterful yet simple piano playing reminiscient of Christopher O'Riley (Radiohead piano cover guy) is intertwined with an electronica sensibility somewhat like The Postal Service. But whereas it took me a long time to get used to Gibbard's foray into Bjork-land, I immediately took a shine to Letting Up's stuff. I'm not sure why. It just seems that this is more "think-rock" or something.

The feel of the songs is pensive but not sappy sweet at all. Mike Lee, from Los Angeles, will no doubt gain the obligatory Elliott Smith comparison for his whispery vocal style. But the way the songs are constructed actually remind me more of Bill Ricchini. The opening track "Maybe I'll Hide With You" certainly reminded me of some of Ricchini's Ordinary Time, as did the closer "Pretending Green Grass".

"If You're Here Today" is a little more jumpy on the drums and features held piano chords and acoustic guitar. This extremely short song has an intro part that is all instrumental. The second part which kicks in at about a minute and a half into the track does have vocals, though not many. This seems to be a trademark of Letting Up... I could probably write all their existing vocals on the back of a postage stamp. Brevity, baby!

Acoustic guitar strumming drives along "Pretending Green Grass" which also includes some reverse strings (cellos?) that liven things up a bit. I sort of wished there were more tracks or the songs were actually longer. You won't hear me say that too often so I guess you could say I liked their stuff!

For those interested in hearing Letting Up Despite Great Faults (quite a long name by the way, sort of rivaling "And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead"), there is a show May 30 at a local Silverlake hangout called Zen Sushi which I can vouch for as a nice place to see a band like this, having played there once or twice...

- review by RABBIT (5.16.05)        

Letting Up Despite Great Faults

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