Saint Sophia

Example: I Die on My Knees

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Along comes this profound, spacey rock LP from Seattle. The drums and piano are programmed, there's a surfeit of faraway synths, and there's no scarcity of foreboding trepidation, but this is still very much a twin-guitar damage act -- just one with a grip on how to use severe effects and technology to add cinematography to their prolonged, post-Pink Floyd tunes instead of making technology itself the apex. Like frigid post-punk (Tubeway Army, 154-era Wire, late-'70s Bowie) mixed with a little Peter Gabriel-era Genesis prog and some minor Bauhaus goth, Saint Sophia are interested in futuristic tones, moods, and hidden anxieties to make their ensemble work stand out. It's all consummated with harmonies on the choruses as well as guitar measures that wouldn't be out of place on the Cure's Seventeen Seconds or Faith. The chorus of the otherwise mostly instrumental, 15-minute monster "In October" is downright catchy, and the caterwauling guitar lead break in the bridge is positively hair-raising. The nine-minute "Her Jupiter" is strong pop (for its first and last third), as is "The Way to Live Is the Way to Die" and "Aftersun," confounding expectations. We could expect nothing less from a band named after a character from a Philip K. Dick novel. This foursome are space-age out-of-sight. (1033 S. 295th Pl., Federal Way, WA 98003; littlegirlempire@yahoo.com)

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