Everything’s a Love Letter
When it comes to most experimental music, there’s usually a fine line between accessible and abstract. I feel much more comfortable putting a seven-minute rhythmic Tortoise track on a mix for a friend than I do with one of Kinski’s double-digit space workouts. Saddleback’s nexus Tony Dupe — previously of the indie-pop outfit Glovebox — focuses almost completely on the most palatable textures and sonic shifts, creating a disc that sounds ultra-modern and urban, like the muffled clangor of a city street. It’s very reminiscent of Germany’s great Kammerflimmer Kollektief, with less dalliance with electronic underpinnings.
On most of the tracks that make up this album, the unifying themes are sparseness and reliance on melody and strongly rooted rhythm. The most remarkable aspect of Everything’s a Love Letter is how the rhythm acts as a street car to link the different sounds of the soundscape (the brass section, the string section, etc.). In fact, how these different sounds intersect, within the individual songs and the album as a whole, paints the music all the lurid colors of a pulp detective novel. Dupe explores outside of street level occasionally, as on the spacious rural post-rock of “Polaroid Fade,” with its ringing guitars, pagan drumming and heavy rolling fog of piano, and the ambient jazz of the steamy “Sunlight Night.” He bows out on “Gerroa Thursday,” in the midst of silence with a spare piano melody fighting to maintain a steady pulse, but inevitably losing the battle, wrapping up the album like good crime fiction with the protagonist dazed, disoriented, but triumphant and, hopefully, at peace.