Chris Letcher – Frieze

Chris Letcher – Frieze / 2007 2Feet / 15 Tracks / / /

The opening to “Frieze” starts off slowly with what sounds like a movie quote opening up “Deep Frieze”. However, it is the poppy style of indie rock that Letcher plays that immediately saves this album. There are more than passing comparisons to individuals like Matthew Sweet on “Deep Frieze”, and while the Avalanches meets Kid Koala-like scratching present during the track is an interesting addition, listeners can easily understand the indie tradition that Letcher is coming from. The thing that establishes Letcher as someone to pay attention to has to be the arrangements that end “Deep Frieze”. These arrangements speed up, slow down, and generally add delightful chaos to an already guilty pleasure. By the end of “Deep Frieze”, Letcher is in a good position.

“Bad Shepherd” is the second track on “Frieze”, and despite the fact that it pushes the six minute mark, there is enough new material present to go and really keep individuals interested and wanting more from Letcher. The best thing about Letcher has to be the ability to have a slower sound, like “Bad Shepherd”, and turn it into an experiment where ey molds listeners’ emotions like clay for the greater part of five minutes. The Radiohead influence is heavy during the instrumental arrangements of “Bad Shepherd”, putting it at odds with the vocal distortion and inflection of Letcher, which draws instead on Pink Floyd. While it always seemed to me that many of the albums that were originally pressed on vinyl were constrained by the media itself, I realized that it was the pinnacle of the recorded art form. Specifically, artists working in the vinyl medium understood that the album lingers just long enough at the forty-fifty minute mark, and going longer than that is just inviting trouble.

However, each track that is present on “Frieze” provides something different to Letcher, and provides listeners with a full idea of what influences and inspires Letcher. The morose sound present during a number of tracks during “Frieze” is the glue that holds the disc together; a song like “Sketch” brings the slow, sad step by step of “Bad Shepherd” and adds a little bit of horns into the mix. This gives the song a completely different flow than “Bad Shepherd”, while installing Letcher further into the sad-panda-rock genre. Adding a Wendy Carlos-like synthesizer as a bridge to “Sketch” just locks up the track as being the pinnacle of Letcher’s “Frieze”. Pick it up.

Top Tracks: Bird Caught Fire, Lopsided

Rating: 6.0/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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