Monday, September 30, 2013

Album Review | Saint Rich - Beyond The Drone

Do you ever wonder what your favorite singers were like in high school? Two things you should know: One, I'm from St. Louis, and the question that defines a St. Louisan is "What high school did you go to?" (Not answering that); Two, I was in band from sixth through twelfth grade. Most of my friends were nerds. Cool, hilarious, creative, nice nerds. Some of them still play instruments, others are now band teachers. I fell into a job in music, and I go to a lot of shows. Sometimes my imagination wanders at concerts. I transport myself and the group I'm watching to my old high school band's practice room. When we get there, we're either sitting in a half circle studying pre-calc, nervously telling dumb jokes to kill time before leaving for the football field to march, or making plans to hang out after a Friday night basketball game. It's my really fun, kind of weird, totally nerdy and harmless pastime.

When I listened to Saint Rich's debut Beyond The Drone, I was carried back to my teenage years. Get this: Delicate Steve mates Christian Peslak and Steve Marion started playing music together in high school. The duo quietly released "Officer" this summer, Drone's singular sign of adolescent angst. Spoon fans will dig the single, but don't expect to meet the same sonic attitude throughout this 12-track opus. The lot are accessible instead of alienating ("Dreams"), sentimental but not schmaltzy ("Crying From The Home"), youthful and mature ("Young Vultures"). My best high school memories were made with people who shared these qualities, which is just one of the reasons why I appreciate Drone so much. I also love the fact that Peslek and Marion ground each other so effortlessly. When vocals wander, the guitar holds steady and vice versa. Like a good mixtape that you spend hours perfecting to impress your crush, Saint Rich ensured that every song wears its coolness on its sleeve, but it doesn't show it off. My favorites remind me of personally influential all-stars, like vintage U2 ("Black and Brown") and George Harrison ("Coming Home"). 

Saint Rich's album is now available on Merge Records, where it's streaming. I hope you'll follow my lead and let your imagination go wild for 37 minutes (hit repeat, I dare you!). Take a spin in your first car and pop in Beyond The Drone. You'll be lost in the moment of exhilarating joy that comes with driving a little too fast with the windows down and the best mixtape blaring.

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