Written by Zachariah Calluori
Let it Be Already is a short play from New York’s anti-folk group the Due Diligence, led by songwriter Isaac Gillespie.
The first song hits like a freshly cracked egg in a hot frying pan. On “Freeze” you get the guitar – it’s pushing tube, breaking up, and fuzzy on the solos – and, recorded to tape, it’s all deliciously burnt. The drums are very active – given all that’s going on in the right hand, there’s a jazz background there – and with the low, dull hum of a lightly-distorted organ and impressive bass playing, this band imbues a tried and true series of chords with new vigor. The vocal line, although backgrounded in the mix (a move very much in line with the anti-folk aesthetic of de-emphasizing spoken word, the choice weapon of 1960’s folk artists) bears a catchy rhythmic quality. And the group navigates the trio format of guitar, bass, and drums in sonically fresh ways with its creative mixing: The drums pan hard to the side, a technique that I’ve heard before on some Buddy Miles records but not much since. While Dilligence’s drums are mixed hard-left, Miles typically panned to the right ear, though on occasion, such as the tune “Dreams”, Miles’s toms are panned left to right, from high to low, all the way to the ride cymbal, so the fills sound like a broad paintbrush stroke right between the ears.
The record follows with “The Reason Young People Use Drugs (Abner Jay),” Abner Jay being a vocal and multi-instrumental talent from Georgia who performed as a one-man-band throughout the 50’s and 60’s. Out of this connection to an unsung folk hero and American mythos comes a track voicing the problems of discontented youth. Gillespie’s voice is presented in low fidelity with a medium-speed tremolo effect that lends a sort of exaggerated version of the vibrato of blues musicians such as Blind Willie Johnson or Robert Johnson. It’s drony and despairing, at first only complimented by a distorted guitar, but then battered by a booming bass drum and a grooving, active drumming style similar to that of the first track. A screaming guitar solo with an octave-up effect à la Jack White helps delivers the song’s climax. “Moment” lays back with a nostalgic, roots-type groove reminiscent of Devendra Banhart’s “Foolin’.” The addition of a low-humming organ and reverb-laden piano help the trio to capture the doldrums of lost love and fleeting memories addressed in its lyrics. Line “But it was only just a moment” is sung with an ascending pentatonic melody appropriately reminiscent of Duke Ellington’s “in a Sentimental Mood”. A Staccato Farfisa organ lends a lot of the classic flavor of “the Mute Scoot” – a loosely-veiled reference to messing around – that proves an apt closer to the release.