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Preview Tue Mar 04 2014
By Jen Emmert
The vibrant music of Columbus-based band Saintseneca is full of triumphant contrasts — they're the hammock you want to lay in on an endlessly sunny, summer day, and they're the hearty, comforting stew that you want to eat after a long winter's shoveling. Their sound is reminiscent of of Neutral Milk Hotel mixed with Violent Femmes and The Cure, not to mention tinges of the rural music of Appalachia (deriving from front-man and songwriter Zac Little). Floating leisurely like dust particles in an empty room, the buildup of so many influences create dynamically melodic molecules eager to reach listeners everywhere and anywhere.
Not only does the band incorporate varying eclectic instrumentation like floor percussion, mandolin, Turkish Baglama, balalaika and dulcimer, but they also use familiar elements like electric guitars and synths to ultimately concoct the signature Sainteseneca sound. That, and the band's frequent shows with electric bands around their hometown and in unconventional settings (including under bridges and in highway overpasses) allows much diversion and diversity to pool into Saintseneca's aesthetic. One might speculate that this punk and folk integration could be the origins of a new genre called "polk," so in many ways, Saintseneca is a legend in the making.
Saintseneca releases its sophomore full-length album, Dark Arc, on April 1. Check out "Happy Alone," the album's first single:
According to the band's label, Anti-Records, Dark Arc highlights more of the band's contrasts, particularly the play between light and darkness, and relives highly imagistic dreams of frontman Little. The recording process reached greater depth, starting in a friend's attic and then Mike Mogis's (bright Eyes, M. Ward, First Aid Kit) studio in Nebraska nine months later, establishing the effect of Little's expectation — a minimalist acoustic folk group and a rock band. The result remains as simultaneous doom and delight. Spotify currently features three songs from the upcoming album and the band heads to SXSW this week as well.