by Kat Harding (@iwearaviators)
Doug Tuttle’s newest album on Trouble in Mind Records, Peace Potato, opens with “Such a shame it had to be this way,” sung in his gentle, far-away voice, putting into words the ever-present feeling many of us can’t escape. The track “Bait in the Sun” cracks open the record, a song that could be from any of the last five decades, really. It feels like a vintage find, picked up for $1 in a dusty record bin because the cover art seemed cool enough to justify bringing it home; it’s a gem.
The whole album is quiet and soft, a thoughtful guitar-driven rock album to listen to in a hammock, by the pool, or another relaxing summer activity. “Only in a Dream” features just the right amount of twang coming through the guitar chords over Tuttle’s hazy melodies. The sweet song’s relaxed tempo and fuzzy lyrics cover a more intense topic: mental illness. The serious topic masked by the softened tunes stand as a reminder to look at each other deeper and hold empathy for others. You really never do know what the other person is going through.
Modern synth elements join on track “Life Boat,” a swishy, loop-filled song with a steady cymbal hit and growing brassy tones that gradually fill your ears. It sounds like we’re listening to the tide coming in and out at a very fast pace, building anxiety and volume before it ends abruptly and “But Not Of You” starts, bringing us right back to the 1970s folky feel of the album, if only for about thirty seconds. “A Message From Your Heart” solidifies the rest of the record as the laid-back guitar pop that characterizes most of the album.
The title track brings in Spanish-influenced squeaking acoustic guitars, with Tuttle’s skill highlighted substantially. The album, with its range of influences, but seeming dedication to vintage guitar pop, seems like Tuttle had a lot of fun while making it. The tracks fit together well, and even though there are 15 tracks total on the album, it isn’t too long or tedious of a listen. The bits of varied genres keep you on your toes, but the overall relaxing and laid back feel of the album makes it the perfect one to spin after a long day.