Doug Tuttle is a longhair sugar-psych singer-songwriter from Massachusetts, previously of similarly lo-fi, yet harsher, more Lemonheads-like group effort Mmoss.
The title of his third album, Peace Potato, sounds like some shit joke a Liberal Democrat leader would come up in response to a snarky, “What would Jeremy Corbyn name an album?” question. But it’s a blissed out listen.
Lots of people at the moment are making happy music with good vibes. Me, I’m not really into good vibes; weird, hellish vibes are more my thing. Monstrous vibes. Maybe slightly oddly, Tuttle isn’t a particularly well-known, an actual indie artist making interesting and engaging music.
I know the 2011 adjectives of laid back surf rock probably makes people want to puke their eyes out these days, but there’s no reason why Tuttle shouldn’t spoken about in the same league as your Real Estates, Surfer Bloods, and – dare she say it – your Mac DeMarcos; DeMarco, an artist although a few laps ahead in terms of structure and conforming to the proper music industry machine, is similar to Tuttle in that they both perform blissed out music (mostly) without the obnoxious, flannel shirt dickery of other bottom rock purveyors. They’re both a cut above, in other words.
This album is lush, easy on the ears, Byrdsy blissed out surf pop with a slight edge. The aching melodies and horns on ‘Bait the Sun‘ are delish. Think a scruffier, higher version of Ducktails. ‘In your Light‘ trails off with a gorgeous woodwind outro, similarly heard in previous Mmoss instrumentals. It smashcuts into the only derivative track here, ‘It’s Alright with Me, Ma‘. Peculiarly, the title track is the only sizable shift in tone on the whole record, as it’s a sombre, woody Spanish guitar instrumental.
A number of these songs have a sketch-like, weightless quality (only 3 of the 15 tracks here bleed over the 3-minute mark), so, coupled with Tuttle’s knack for a tune, it means Peace Potato never outstays its welcome; it’s no chore to listen to, and imprints of a lot of these songs will easily stay in your head a long time after.
Conversely, it means some of the ideas would have benefitted from bit more fleshing out. Many of the songs, although easy-on-the ears, are little more than interesting intros and false starts where a full song should be. I know slackers gonna slack, but I’d be down to hear what songs like ‘Not Enough‘ and ‘But Not of You‘ would sound like as fuller versions.
For blissed out, happy people who still want to bum the earth: this album will be right up your gypsy houseboat canal.
Peace Potato is out now on Trouble In Mind.