Desormais is a duo made up of the prolific Mitchell Akiyama and Tony Boggs (aka Joshua Treble). In the past, the duo has created some seriously deconstructed, ambient glitch pieces that called to mind the work of Christian Fennesz and Tim Hecker, but Dead Letters To Lost Friends finds them delving more into post rock structures and slightly more conventional sounds. They're by no means a pop group yet, but the fact that discernible guitar and instrumentation creeps through the mix is still at the very least a minor step.
Because the two live in different cities (and countries, even), their writing process is largely by mail, and Dead Letters To Lost Friends seems to reference what must seem like a sometimes futile process. In addition to their own talents, the two are joined by drummer Eric Craven (HangedUp), Jenna Robertson (Avia Gardner), Vitaminsforyou, and others. The result is a release that sounds like it started out as a fairly basic instrumental post rock release, but was then run through the digital blender, shoving something out the other side that still has definite touches of the original, but moves in exciting new directions as well.
"Hell'n Ohio" (Boggs/Treble resides in Cincinnati) opens the disc and sparse drum hits are melded with violin washes before the track lurches into an a downright rocking track with melodica, crunchy guitars, digital and live drumming, fuzzy basslines, and more. It's easily one of the best tracks the group has ever done. "Walk To The Hotel Alone" takes filtered guitar tones and blends them with slide guitar, sparse drums and organ for another nice little instrumental glitch pop track while "Salt Eyes Fuck Yeh" pushes things in a more digital direction with heavily filtered, textural melody layers wrapping around cut-up drum loops.
Although the duo drops back to more processed, ambient pieces in places ("Sand Claims" and "Drowning In Place" both pulse with granular washes and stutters), the group seems to really carve out a nice ground with several tracks that mix dense swells of processed sound with aggressive drums. "One Or Many Wolves," "If People Could Fly They'd Likely Have Talons," and "Verbs & Streams" all have elements of indie rock, but are also heavily influenced by processing, and they all sound pretty invigorating. While there are a couple soft spots (namely the long, aimless "I Wore Water Wings But The Chlorine Still Stings"), Dead Letters To Lost Friends is easily my favorite release from the duo, proving they're plenty capable of moving past the almost pure processing sound of their early work and into new territory.