When listening to Doug Tuttle’s latest album Dream Road, one is immediately struck with how much of a sonic architect this guy is. It’s of little wonder his other gig is building guitar effects pedals. Tuttle musical specialty is spinning the paisley patterned sounds of yesteryear into something instantly familiar yet fresh. Every analog sound from the swirling mellotrons to the backwards guitar solos are in exactly the right place. It’s the musical equivalent of a rec room with shag carpeting, a beanbag chair, and a top-notch hi-fi with good record collection. I reckon his guitar tone is most likely the envy of at least a few boutique lurking guitar snobs as well.
On his fourth solo album and debut for Burger Records, he seems to have settled into a comfortable groove with his own brand of gentle psychedelia, leaving behind the fragmented approach of his prior record Peace Potato. Tuttle also folds some new sounds into the mix including a little bit of Nashville twang that creeps around the edges, and even a little AM Gold on the effortless sounding light pop of “Did You Need Someone.” Even though he seems to have settled into more conventional song structures, and expanded his sound pallet some, there’s a feeling of restlessness that seems to hang over Dream Road. The album is bookended with two songs “I’ll Throw It All Away,” and “Fade” that both appear to find the artist at a crossroads. Let’s hope he’s not ready to pack it in yet, especially with albums as good as this issuing forth on a regular basis. Even though the pay is probably terrible (but probably better than writing record reviews), we need guys like Tuttle building cool effects pedals and fighting the good fight to keep the torch aflame.
Buy Dream Road via Burger Records.