Missoula’s Letter B band calls themselves an “indie-hip-pop” group. On their second release after Moving Forward, I hear nuances of hip-hop, yes, but hey! – there are cool melodies and infectious hooks, thoughtful lyrics and excellent musicianship. How refreshing! So yes, “indie-hip-pop” nails it.
Letter B began with brother-sister duo Jordan Lane and Katie C in 2014. Jordan had performed and sung around Missoula for several years; Katie joined him after writing a poem called Letter B. It got her writing and performing with her brother.
The siblings are joined by Dillon Johns, bass, Lhanna Writesel, saxophone, Josh Hungate, trombone, and Brandon Zimmer, drums. Lane adds guitar, keys, and lead vocals, and Katie C, vocals.
Lane wrote the five songs here, but the musicians wrote their own parts. The roots-rock band plays tight, intricate phrases, while Lane’s robust baritone voice sails smoothly over cascading lyrics à la Dave Matthews.
“Wake Up” features Lane singing about living through the pain of his parents’ divorce. “You try to stand tough, you need to wake up,” he sings, voice full of emotion. The song builds with a pulsating riff from sax and guitar, punctuated at times by the gunshot rat-a-tat of a perfectly placed snare drum. Wow!
“The Wolves” has an exotic beat and a bluesy ambience, along with stutter-step drum work and a wailin’ sax break. Lane sings about going your own way, making a break from the pack.
“MUYM” (“Made Up Your Mind”) opens onto the voice of Barbara Jordan, who gave the keynote address at the 1976 Democratic National Convention. There’s knockout bass playing, and Katie C shares vocals with Lane in places, their voices perfectly meshed.
There’s a lot of stuff packed into this EP. This band is going places!
– Mariss McTucker