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January 9, 2006

{     Desormais - Dead Letters to Lost Friends     } is infrequent that an album's title so perfectly describes its contents, but Dead Letters to Lost Friends could not be more aptly named. Desormais deliver an album of singular spectral beauty, charged with quiet vigor and crackling with electro-organic charm. Thematically, the album seems to address the inherent complexities and struggle associated with communication, the frustration of its failure and the exultation at its success. At least that's what I'm reading into its alternating dark corners and wide vistas of white brilliance. It's felt in the shimmering ambient synth and hard dirty drum loops, lonely guitar strums and fractured strings, which all occasionally blur together into sharp points of coherence, melodies heavy with emotional presence, before fragmenting and wandering off. It's 5 conversations I've actually had, 6 letters I've actually written, only transmuted into musical form. Desormais speak a dialect of laptop-noise-pop that's entirely their own. I'd like to compare this to other things I love, but I'd need to paint in the broad strokes of Eno, Soma, Morricone, Dntel, or Michael Andrews (maybe even Arcade Fire) and tossing those names around takes away from what is unique and different about Desormais. Dead Letters to Lost Friends is also a much more intimate affair than that conglomeration of comparisons would suggest. Tracks like the opener, "Hell'n Ohio", traffic in near-minimalism before blossoming into a multi-layered groove, expressing a sort of comfortable complexity arrived at only through careful and clever pacing. Similarly, "If People Could Fly They'd Likely Have Talons" builds off a single reverby guitar riff, recycled continuously before unfolding into a brilliantly messy beat that weaves it's way in and out of the stark repeated melody. Every track feels intensely personal, as though you'd come acrosss that pile of dead letters hinted at in the album's title. Though you may not be the person to whom they are addressed, you become their audience. You're the postman sneaking into the basement on a smoke break, slyly opening a few new envelopes each day, knowing they'll never find their intended destination, indulging in momentary glimpses into lives not your own.



What beautiful textures.

Posted by: Aaron at January 11, 2006 3:51 AM

you're quite the wordsmith, Adam Barraclough.

Posted by: K. Laish. at January 11, 2006 4:43 AM
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