steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Letterpress

"Input/Output" CD

Sunset Alliance

Genres: indie rock, math rock, emo

Sunset Alliance
PO Box 32048
Mesa AZ 85275

Jul 19 - 25 2004

Like early Three Mile Pilot, The Letterpress have that wacky distinction of using no guitar in their compositions.  This friendly trio instead employs vocals, percussion, and two bass guitars - the results, incidentally, sound like a sort of Braid and Pinback hybrid, filled with gnarled, twisting basslines and lush, emotional vocals.  The minimal complexity of Dustin Carson's percussion gives the disc a certain math-rock quality.

Like any given Braid album, Input/Output takes a few listens to become accustomed to; after that initial period, however, it's longetivity is outstanding.  These songs have very subtle melodies, buried behind dynamics and complicated time signatures.  Even the most obvious song, "The Falling Away," takes some getting used to - once you've got the groove, you'll discover a charmingly pristine song bordering on emo territory, somewhat similar to The Promise Ring's calmer compositions.  The title-track and "Ember" also boast remarkable melodies.

As far as debuts go, this is a formidable effort from The Letterpress.  Although their melodic subtlety and rhythmic complexity may limit their potential audience, this disc should have no problem garnering interest from the math-rock and "complex indie rock" communities.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 7 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2003]