Saint Rich

Beyond the Drone

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A splinter band from Steve Marion's Delicate Steve project, Saint Rich came together one stormy weekend when guitarist Christian Peslak was the only member of the band who could make it to Marion's home in rural Sussex County, New Jersey for a practice session. With the roads bad and the river rising, as they say, Marion and Peslak, both multi-instrumentalists who had known each other for a decade or more on the local indie scene, spent the weekend writing songs. These new songs weren't the guitar-led instrumental pieces that Delicate Steve specialized in, though, but fully formed songs with spry and shifting melodies and thought-out lyrics that had just a bit of neo-power pop to them, and an entirely new band, Saint Rich, was born of the consequences of the storm. First, Saint Rich is not much like Delicate Steve. Peslak sings, for one, and he sings well, with a surprisingly subtle vocal style that somehow manages to blend innocence, sarcasm, and gentleness into a single slightly whimsical and bemused voice, and these are smart songs, full of unexpected and delightful lines and turns of phrase. The key track, or at least the one bound to get the most attention, is "Officer," where Peslak asks "why do you always look so mad…why don't you buy yourself a story" in a voice that suggests sarcasm but is still somehow shocked and surprised at police posturing in what can only be described as childlike innocence. It's why the song works so well -- it's partly scathing and part sympathetic, at least sort of. Other highlights here include "Young Vultures" ("together it's too hard to fly away" goes part of the lyric), "Crying from Home," with its beautiful melody, and "You Ain't Worth the Night," which is a get-lost love song that again seems calm and gentle on the surface but has a subtle, sharp, and biting edge to it. These guys are onto something. Perhaps Delicate Steve and Saint Rich will merge completely and we'll get to keep both bands in one. It could work.

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