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Letting Up Despite Great Faults

The brainchild of Los Angeles musician Michael Lee, Letting Up Despite Great Faults reflects classic dream pop influences with an affectionate, post-'90s mix of chorus-heavy guitars and gentle, recessed vocals, sometimes adding New Order-evoking basslines that play to the dance-inclined. The group followed their eponymous 2009 debut album with 2012's Untogether and 2014's Neon before returning with the higher-fidelity, still giddy IV in 2022. Lee grew up taking piano lessons and listening to bands like Orbital and the Chemical Brothers, later forming Letting Up Despite Great Faults in 2004. After recording a handful of demo tracks, the project released the seven-song EP Movement on L.A.'s New Words Records in 2006, earning it accolades in the blogosphere and a song ("Disasters Are Okay") on the television program One Tree Hill. In late 2009, Letting Up Despite Great Faults released their self-titled full-length on New Words, an album Lee recorded in his own home on Ableton Live, a program he had only recently learned. (Though most of the instruments were recorded by Lee himself, for both releases, he utilized the talents of bassist Kent Zambrana and guitarist Patrick Staples, as well as vocalists Lorealle Bishop, Rachel Koukal, and Amy Izushima on the LP). Mastered by veteran engineer Jeff Lipton of Magnetic Fields' fame, the album received more attention in the online music world, and Letting Up Despite Great Faults -- which as a live band consisted of Lee, Zambrana, Koukal, and guitarist Chris Gregory -- continued to play shows around their native California. The EP Paper Crush appeared in August 2011. After relocating to Austin, Texas, the band's self-released second full-length, Untogether, arrived in late 2012. It established the lineup of Lee, Zambrana, drummer Daniel Schmidt, and keyboardist/vocalist Annah Fisette. The quartet followed it two years later with Neon, which gave Fisette a larger role on vocals. An EP, Alexander Devotion, saw release in 2017; a Japanese edition issued by Rallye included five previously unreleased bonus tracks. Before the group returned with their fourth album in 2022, Lee decided to slightly streamline his recording process, leaving in layers but downplaying synths and added filters while at the same time bringing vocals closer to the fore. The resulting IV was released that March.
© Marisa Brown & Marcy Donelson /TiVo
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Discography

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