There's a long and noble tradition of musicians who've been prompted to create great work through heartbreak (would Roy Orbison have even had a career without getting so bummed out about women?), and lo-fi guitar hero Doug Tuttle has joined the roster with his self-titled solo debut. Tuttle and Rachel Neveu were the founders of the New England indie psych band Mmoss, and they were also a couple; after a pair of fine albums, both the band and their relationship broke up, and as Tuttle struggled emotionally with his newly single status, he began writing and recording a batch of new material that became the album Doug Tuttle. Tuttle doesn't spend all his time drowning in his own tears on this album, but every song touches on the pains of a love gone sour in some small way, and his sorrow is communicated as much by the music as the lyrics (besides, the vocals are often left murky in the album's mix). There's often a dour turn in Tuttle's melodies that registers as sorrow, but this is also top-shelf lo-fi psychedelia, full of strong guitar work (check out his three-minute showcase solo on "Turn This Love"), evocative low-budget production (signal overload, homemade effects gear, and heavy manipulated sound effects), and arrangements that get powerful impact out of small instrumentation (the contrast between the acrobatic basslines and the squeal of the electric organ on "Leave Your Body" is particularly inspired). And it's obvious that Tuttle's greatest influences hail from the mid-'60s through the early '70s, but he's also created an album that sounds original, absorbing, and heartfelt despite its ties to another time and place. While Mmoss created a small but memorable body of work, Doug Tuttle proves their former guitarist has the talent and the vision to create music just as remarkable all by himself; hopefully, he won't have to have his heart broken again in order to deliver another set of music this engaging.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming