To give a quick summary of these dozen tracks, it could probably be said that the writing, recording, production and so on is all done to a decent standard, but without being overly spectacular. There are no stop-you-in-your-tracks moments, this is more an easy to listen to collection of thoughtful compositions that don't do a lot wrong, but don't dazzle either. If guitar-pop is your thing you may well fall for this record, if it's not then you're likely to be left cold. One word of warning though; don't give up if this band don't grab you on first listen. Songs like 'Changed', the lovely 'Hooray He's Not Dead' and 'In The Sun Making Waves' are all real growers, and the jangly 'It's Monday and I'm Dreaming' touches on British, '80s indiepop. In fact the nature of the subject matter paints this band as an NYC version of Glasgow's Belle & Sebastian, although the musical styles differ. The sentiment of, say, 'Out On The Streets' is much the same.
Some tracks are quite reflective, a natural reaction to writing about places or people who are a major part of your life. It's this aspect that makes 'Hold Me Steady', a traditional Americana/indie song, more than just a mid-tempo listen, much like 'Window' and 'Southern Bound'. It has feeling and this makes it work so much better. A few songs fall a bit flat; nice enough but probably won't linger long in the memory. 'I Can't Get A' is (ironically) a little pedestrian; we get a touch of funk on 'Hope Street' but again it's not a highlight despite being well made, and 'I Got You' is a bit close to the AOR market to leave any real impression. The rock 'n roll throwback of '14 Bar Blues' is an odd inclusion, and regardless of the quality of the song, it sticks out like a sore thumb. 'Walking Down The Streets' is a competent record with some good writing, however you can't help but feel it would have benefited from a little trimming to make a more successful mini-album instead. There is promise to be found here though.
The Letter Yellow's website
Stream or buy the album
Catch them live:
THU 03 OCT Unknown venue, Middletown, CT, US
FRI 11 OCT Littlefield, Brooklyn, NY, US
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