steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"The Letter L" CD

Fort Hazel

Genres: "cartoon jazz", instrumental rock, pop

Fort Hazel
1400 Hill Road
Boise ID 83702

July 26 - Aug 1 2004

Ah, Lowbelly.  It just so happened that I cracked out their last release just days before I set out to review this one.  Coincidence?  Perhaps, but it says tons about the band's songwriting.  Though their work is entirely instrumental, principal songwriter Tristan Andreas manages to keep things interesting by way of his marvelous atmospheres and catchy, whimsical melodies.

Like previous Lowbelly recordings, The Letter L features an extensive instrument list, with many contributing musicians adding to the fun.  An accordion, a clarinet, a kalimba, and even a "circuit-bent electronic toy" can be heard in this dense, layered, though never stuffy collection of tunes.  The songs themselves range from jazzy ("So Little Current," "One Eye Patch") to slow and pensive ("DeLuxe," "Not Driven") to pure boppy ("Camping with Kermit").  As a result, The Letter L is a mixed bag, but one that is full of many goodies.  Blast this sucker loud through your abode - it will make everything you see, think or do seem ten times more fun.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 14 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2003]