Gut Czech’s spare guitar figure at the beginning of “Mental Inventory” is a delicate invitation into a song that evolves with an elegantly organic and measured pace. The whole time the vocals and the instrumentation are gently hypnotic and though addressing issues of mental health its dynamic is one of languid drift the way you’d hope to have in your head space when trying to sort out your deepest feelings and the tangled roots of the pains and angst that linger long past the point of heartbreaking experiences and the inevitably overwhelming feelings of regret that can sink your mood if you let them. Josh Czech’s falsetto jibes well with the swell of atmospheres, the adding and subtracting of layers are dramatic without being abrupt leaving moments of tonal saturation at the perfect times to accent contemplative passages and spaciousness when you’re ready for the rush of feelings to subside for just a little while. The melodic strategy is unconventional and yet it sticks with you like a fond memory not unlike what Letting Up Despite Great Faults did on “She Spins” but with a different style of music. There is keen ear for nuances of songwriting and a sense of the ebb and flow of the psyche and pairing them together in evidence in this song. Listen to “Mental Inventory” on Spotify and follow Gut Czech on Instagram.
Letting Up Despite Great Faults released its latest album titled IV on March 4, 2022 and marked its first full album in nearly eight years. But for a band that got off to what might be described as a slow start in 2004 in Los Angeles followed by the 2006 release of its first EP Movement (which was reissued on cassette in 2021) the group, lead by singer/guitarist/songwriter Mike Lee, fairly quickly progressed from an early synth pop/proto bedroom pop project to a more shoegaze band by the time of its self-titled 2009 debut and following its move to Austin, Texas at the beginning of 2012 the band has fused the more soundscapey side of its songwriting with the entrancing pop hooks that have always been its hallmark. The new record and its lead single “She Spins” hits your ears right away as one of the great works of guitar pop of the past two decades. Its unconventional melodic lines subvert expected musical tropes of the genre and the intricate guitar interplay recalls the best sides of the Paisley Underground and C86 but with lush production that makes it an easy record to get lost in with a single listen. We had a chance to speak with Lee about his early days as a musician, his development as an artist within the context of Letting Up Despite Great Faults (a name that’s a nod to the Blonde Redhead song “Loved Despite Great Faults”) and the aesthetics of IV from the songwriting to the cover art which Lee, as a graphic artist himself, helped to create.
Listen to our interview with Mike Lee on Bandcamp linked below and catch Letting Up Despite Great Faults performing with Blushing, Old Soul Dies Young and Moodlighting at Lost Lake on Wednesday, April 20, 2022, doors 7, show 8, $12.
The exquisite guitar riff that runs through most of “She Spins” by Austin, TX-based shoegaze/dream pop band Letting Up Despite Great Faults is irresistible in its stirring emotional winds. The song though gorgeous and uplifting contrasts with its themes of anxiety and resigned realization that never quite settles in one’s mind. It speaks to the kind of relationship, or a place in one, where you’re never sure of your standing with the other person and the passive-aggressive, gaslighty emotional games that take up entirely too much space in your psyche and erode one’s sense of self and having a feeling of comfort, value and acceptance in that relationship is elusive at best, seemingly impossible most of them time when you pay attention to the dynamics of your bond, such as it is, and recognize the dysfunction even if you’re not quite sure why you don’t break things off. The song in its entirely appealing, ethereal surges of contemplative mood articulates that liminal moment when you recognize abuse for what it is and that will ultimately lead to not wanting that in your life anymore no matter what the benefits of that relationship might be. It is in that sense a song of personal liberation before you take the steps to make that a reality. Listen to “She Spins” on YouTube and follow Letting Up Despite Great Faults at the links below. The band’s 2022 album IV released on March 4, 2022 and is available digitally and on physical media through the Bandcamp link. Fans of Slowdive and Beach Fossils do not sleep on this band.