One of last year’s best albums was In Case We Lose What We Have, by Olympia band Letters. It made number 23 of my favorite albums of the year. Well they’re back and they’ve joined forces with If It Ain’t Breakfast, Don’t Fix It. The DIY folk of Letters works almost too well with the wild noise of If It Ain’t Breakfast. The collective has created something outstanding that can only be dubbed lo-fi noise folk.
What may come as odd is that this new collaborative effort isn’t much a joining of forces, just a rearranging of existing parts. If It Ain’t Breakfast, Don’t Fix It is actually the Letters’ cellist, Geph Shannon. “Head First Florist” has an outstanding melody, perhaps the best on the album. But “Grand” and “Salt Lick” are close on its heels. This new album takes the band in a positive direction; it’s dynamic and intricate in its ability to be distinctly different from the last record.
The only likeness Scattered Areas Where A Thousand Follow In Likeness has with its predecessor is the songwriting style of front-man Joshua Amberson. There are hints of the stripped-down folk instrumentation selectively throughout the album, as heard on “Comma”, but for the majority it’s filled with orchestrated instrumentation, forays into noise, hints of dissonant chords, and … the list goes on. Actually, I take that back. There’s a second likeness — I said it for the last album and I’ll say it again: pure brilliance.