Earlier this year, the self-styled “dark cello pop noiseniks” group Letters released a terrific first single called ‘Halfway House’. It married the fire and brimstone of loud post-rock with the earthy realism of Scottish folk. Taking things sensibly and steadily, the Edinburgh quintet now release their first EP entitled ‘Older Motion Pictures’.
If you’re a post-rock act and you have recorded an instrumental track called ‘Explosions’ then the chances are that a storm of guitars and percussion is about to erupt and Letters do not disappoint on that score but at least the cello and raw production ensure that the experience feels different to other artists in the same genre. The title track is a proper song, however. Sure, guitars and drums rage and the frontman’s gruff vocals are powerful but the elegant keyboard wash offers a gentle antidote to the noise. ‘Torren’ wears its folk influences more readily, the anger is toned down and a better song emerges as a result and ‘From Time To Time’ is arguably even more impressive; moving deftly between different melodies during the course of its dramatic five minutes.
The kitchen sink approach doesn’t suit all bands and there are signs that Letters should tone it down a bit more. Nevertheless, they prove that no one delivers passionate music quite like The Scots and the cello offers an alternative slant to those suffering from post-rock fatigue.
The Twilight Sad