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Doug Tuttle - "It Calls On Me" | Album Review

by Hannah Liuzzo

With his second proper release as a solo act, Doug Tuttle continues to expand on the hybrid genre he pioneered with his former band MMOSS, striking a balance between textures of 60s and 70s nostalgia and sonic innovation. Lazily performed but very mindfully executed, It Calls On Me is the kind of record that was agonized over and fine tuned down to the smallest detail so that we could all put our feet up and have a lovely time listening with the windows down feeling just so.

Lyrically and structurally, It Calls On Me is simple and digestible and nods to an era of music making and drug doing where everyone was naked and in love and draped in some nature or dirt or whatever. “A Place For You,” “Saturday-Sunday,” and “Where You Will Go” verge on the realm of pop--catchy synth lines and universally relatable lyrical content (“let your Saturday surround you”) steer through sweetly navigable melodies and song structures. Tuttle borrows a jangly 12-string guitar sound, a hollow, woody bass tone, and whispery almost-falsetto vocals from snooze-rock/folk legends like the Byrds and The Beach Boys, then folds the familiar into a contemporary package. 

Channeling early experimental rock and roll weirdos like The Velvet Underground, It Calls On Me showcases Tuttle’s ability to take a nearly minute long, unabashed guitar solo over a single chord and somehow make it seem like an important and meaningful journey. Tuttle is a pro pentatonic noodler; there’s absolutely no shortage of guitar riffs in close harmonies, Baroque and worldly embellishments, and meditative looping bass lines. Tracks like “Make Good Time”, “On Your Way,” and “These Times” splice his signature fuzzy and custom engineered guitar voices over carefully sculpted backdrops of acoustic guitars, 4 part vocal harmonies, and organ/synth. The result is very much his own; you could call it from a distance.  

It Calls on Me airs a sense of deepened personal understanding and stability, a contrast from 2013’s more anxiety driven self- titled debut. There’s a new sense of self-assurance and insight—Tuttle makes statements like “If you find out what you need on your way to me/I’ll be taking time away to see” and, “I could always take some time to grow” suggesting a sense of content with the way things are. Tuttle seems to be settling into himself, not only as a songwriter and solo act, but also as a general human in the world. He continues to prove himself as a completely self-sustainable music making persona whose affinity for the psych rock style reads as organic, poetic, and complete.