Birmingham, Ala.’s Broken Letters trumpet their Southern Baptist heritage with music redolent of old-time religion and an air of fragrant fire and brimstone. These guys took to heart not the Sermon on the Mount but The Book of Revelation.
It’s easy to imagine the sky peeling apart to reveal the four horseman of the apocalypse during “Devil Springs,” a minor-chord dust-up with strings attached—you know, the sort that pull your forehead toward the floor beat after beat. Languid organ licks creep into the background of the track, but crashing cymbals and crunchy guitar chords dominate, burying the lyrics and rendering the vocals as mere tonal instrument: strained, guttural rumblings about god knows what.
Broken Letters is a drums-and-guitar duo (the album’s organ having been provided by a session player not traveling with the band) and they are effective texturizers, weaving an enveloping and moody musical tapestry that’s sometimes too muddy for a measured response. Fortunately, their eponymous EP doesn’t call for intellectualizing. Broken Letters is more an effort to disturb the spirit world with volume and rhythm—too loud to be neighborly but just right for a house at the corner of heaven and hell. (Jason Wiener)
Broken Letters plays Higgins Hall Tuesday, July 17, at 8:30 PM. Travis Sehorn and The Pebble Light opens with Cabinet of Natural Curiosities. $5.