Erickson's Album Review of Lettuce - Resonate and Chris Joss - Hyperacusis on CANNAPAGES

Album Notes - Lettuce - Resonate and Chris Joss - Hyperacusis

July 11, 2020

In my college days, July and August meant road trips, festivals, and road trips to festivals. Half of that equation is unfortunately impossible this summer. To that end, I bring you a pair of artists whose music would fit right in to either part of my undergrad excursions. 

Lettuce is a funky sextet founded by Berklee College of Music alumni whose sound is made for afternoon sets on the third stage in the middle of a scorching field with no shade in sight and overpriced bottled water aplenty. Close your eyes and it's not hard to imagine a collection of concertgoers on various substances flailing their limbs in and out of coordination under the misguided guise of "dancing." Having been that person myself many times before, perhaps there is an upside to no festivals after all. Things get stretched out on Resonate, their seventh studio album, a largely instrumental affair. Overall, the record is a great excuse for talented musicians to simply have fun and throw down some good grooves. The tunes work just as well as a soundtrack for those long stretches of open road on the way to the grounds.

Chris Joss's Hyperacusis is in turn a trip to the late-night tent, as things lean a shade darker on the French multi-instrumentalist's most recent release. Its title is the name of a hearing disorder that causes pain when exposed to certain frequencies, and along with misophonia and tinnitus, it forms a horrible trifecta from which Joss suffers. He has already released an album called Misophonia, so perhaps Tinnitus is on deck. As he describes on his Bandcamp page: 

My tinnitus and hyperacusis get along so well I can't seem to have one without the other. Hyperacusis is so important to my auditory system that the content of my music is guided by it. The instruments I use and the way I equalize sounds are influenced by avoiding pain and whistling in my ears. I think that deserved an album title and a track!

On second thought, maybe being stuck in a farm field watching jamband fans get down arrhythmically isn't so bad. As I listen to new music that conjures images of cross-country trips in a late-90s two-door Civic almost two decades ago, it's both refreshing and depressing to ponder the current state of musical affairs. Music can't stop won't stop. But as concerts remain on hold, I can't wait to once again dance like nobody's watching.