Already known for its heady cocktail of thumpity-thumps with strong melodies, Letting Up Despite Great Faults takes several leaps into the stratosphere with its new release, Untogether. Led by Mike Lee, the four-piece, which currently calls Austin, TX and Los Angeles home, has perfected its take on synth-based sounds born in the ‘80s. The album sandwiches moodier, slightly more contemplative fodder between gotta-dance tracks. “On Your Mark,” for instance, is just unabashedly romantic loveliness. The songs I like best combine both approaches, giving a girl an excuse to whirl ‘n’ twirl to delectable melodies, as with “”Breaking,” Scratch,” and “Take My Jacket, Pauline.”
LUDGF calls its sonic output “danceable dreampop,” which sounds to me like something on a stick, that gets licked. Okay, this is getting kinda naughty…
The album's composition is both organic and unnatural, eliciting feelings of a summer ending with earthy synths, urging you to push your fingers into the moist soil after a hard rain. Most of Untogether, in particular lead single "Visions," is bathed in murky whispers; but in this case it's not clear if it's an effect to enhance the darker harmonies or to simply conceal somewhat juvenile lyrics. While developing beautiful visuals of swamped roads reflecting streetlights, Untogether doesn't have the intensity of genuine feeling to push past an initial impression. This could be intentional, a good portion of Letting Up Despite Great Fault's material focuses on emotional response without second thought, but the effect comes off more like teenage abandon, action without repercussion.
While still mellow, the songs of Untogether are a lot more upbeat and rich than the band's breakout hit "Disasters are Okay." In fact, Untogether more closely resembles a continuation of 2011's"Teenage Tide", a direction that was not altogether a popular endeavor. And while Letting Up Despite Great Faults has certainly grown since 2011's Paper Crush they're not going to be stealing any fans away from bands who have spent longer careers honing this particular sound. While Untogether is an earnest effort with truly majestic moments sprinkled intermittently, it's clear that Letting Up Despite Great Faults still has room to grow. Although a decent album of its own standing, Untogether will have trouble making itself known amongst others.