Boomkat Product Review:
We became a little swoonsome over Australia's Saddleback on the release of their unexpectedly fabulous debut album 'Everything's a Love Letter' and now they return with this brilliant sophomore effort. 'Night Maps' takes the ideas we heard explored so effortlessly on their debut and builds on them, creating an album which jumps from style to style without becoming jarring or upsetting. Following on from Preservation's absolutely incredible debut from Aaron Martin (soon to be seen in collaboration with Machinefabriek!) this record is something of a mish-mash of instruments and samples, at once sounding electronic and acoustic. Dupé uses almost exclusively acoustic instruments, but the way they're put together is markedly electronic, so when we listen to the chunky rhythmic slip-and-slide of 'Hanging at Picnic Rock' it sounds something like Fridge's latest effort 'The Sun' really should have done - live and delicately produced at one and the same time. In fact Fridge are possibly the best comparison, but where they have reverted back to post-rock stereotypes, Saddleback move further and further into widescreen territory. 'Rain in Sea', for instance, could be mistaken for Cliff Martinez with its slow-building strings and chopped bassline - there's the faint echo of glockenspiel and drums but everything is blurred to a near-haze of beautiful echoing Reichian sound. There are loops, sure, but these loops are anything but static - you can hear musicians playing them and they are built on with an effortless understanding of musical form - it's hardly surprising that Dupé did his time playing in indie rock bands. At no point do you get the feeling that this might be an electronic artist 'experimenting' with instruments, rather this is an album that smacks of knowledge, of both instruments and production - you can hear the echo of a room but at all times you remained stunned at the smallest of touches. It might be a lightly brushed snare or a simply plucked banjo string but it will have you coming back again and again. A simply beautiful record - don't sleep on it!