Letters from Saturn is a duo from Naples, Florida comprised of Kerrianne Cortez (vocals) and Juan Acosta (guitar, bass, drums/percussion and keyboards). On their recent release entitled We turned around to watch the moon explode they experiment and flirt with a number of genres including post-rock and pop but almost make a couple of unexpected twists and turns.
Acosta prefers clean, delayed guitars to distortion and it’s a good decision considering the recording quality is about equal to that of a demo. He has some talent finding an aesthetically pleasing palette of sounds. Nothing groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination but you do hear nuggets of inspiration.
Cortez has a pretty good singing voice in a spacey, drugged out kind of way. Unfortunately, I felt like it was too buried in the mix at times. I have heard much worse but it didn’t get the space it deserved either.
The first track “Radioactive Youth” is the most geared towards Acosta’s post-rock tendencies. Acosta keeps it simple, relying on guitars and drums, but gets creative towards the end with backward sounding effects. The song isn’t particularly hook worthy but Cortez introduces a number of quality vocal melodies, which carry the song. “Rooms of Gold” has a completely different feel even though the guitars sound similar. Acosta replaces the post-rock with a ‘70s swagger almost on the verge of funk. Cortez ‘s vocal performance on the verse goes from hazy to empowered when she sings, “Everything feels alright.”
The highlight for me was “Spectral Affection,” which is a breezy, dreamy song that actually introduces a smidge of jazz into the mix. It felt like a more psychedelic version of a song you might hear in a late night jazz club. Solid job all around here. “Lunar Searchlights” is a decent sounding ambient song while the closer is “First Night” fell a bit flat.
We turned around to watch the moon explode is strong for a DIY effort recorded on consumer gear but isn’t competitive with nationally known acts or the upper echelon of what music offers these days. For what it is, it’s enjoyable but if the duo is interested in making this a full time gig they are going to have to take things to the next level.
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