The Letter E – EP

Instrumental bands get a bum rap sometimes. I saw a show with Pele, an interesting instrumental band recently, and the crowd kept shouting out for them to sing. But that’s where instrumental bands have a greater task, and why the greater ones shine all the more brightly. It’s easy to cover up a mediocre rock song with powerful lyrics. But doing away with them altogether completely exposes the actual music. To be a good instrumental band, you have to be very good. And you can’t be repetitious. Instrumental bands seem to be gaining in popularity as more people are realizing how important it is to make good, strong, beautiful music.
The Letter E is an instrumental band, and let me start by saying that if you like Tristeza, you will like this album. These are four guys who know how to make amazing music. Featuring Curtis Harvey of Rex and Sean Meadows of June of 44, Lungfish, Sonora Pine, and Boondoggle, this band will prove to have that complexity and originality that instrumental bands require. All the components of a rock band are here. Complex and pretty electric guitar, strong bass, complex rhythms. But it’s in that complexity that the band proves their quality.
“On the Corner” starts things off. It’s a flowing, pretty song with some amazing guitar work. It’s soft and structured, with hills and valleys that keep things interesting. “Number 2” is a bit more math-rockey. The bass is featured here, strong and powerful, with some Pele-like guitar flowing over top. Rhythm is where it’s at on “Goodbye,” with beautiful, flowing bass and amazing drums, often sounding more like bongos and other interesting percussion instruments. And “Bess in Bejing” is a flowing, softer number, one that just kinda swirls around your head, with some amazing guitarwork. It is probably the most similar to Tristeza without sounding just like them, at times drizzling down to almost nothing and picking it up again just in time, easily one of the more beautiful instrumental tracks I’ve heard.
Fans of Tristeza, June of 44, Pele, and other bands that have dabbled in longer, complex instrumental numbers will appreciate The Letter E’s new EP. If you’re looking for all-out rock, you probably won’t. This band is more interested in structure and fluidity of music than all-out, in-your-face intensity. They are working on a full-length that I imagine will be much anticipated.