Review Summary: An amazing, heartfelt folk album. One of the best of its generation.
My journey into the genre of folk started at an early age, with my whole childhood being brought up on the more poppy sounds of Jack Johnson (an obsession of my mothers.) As my tastes matured to more heavy sounds such as System of a Down and Rise against in my early teens I started to long for the soothing, complex acoustic sounds of folk again. This was well timed as my tastes expanded exponentially and delved deeper into the unknown realms of the indie and obscure, bands such as The Mountain Goats and Iron & Wine soon enveloped my musical tastes. Then it happened; I came across a little blog, the name escaped me now; they were raving about this little known folk band. Well seeming as I am a man of supporting the smaller, unknown musicians I gave them a look. And WOW is all I am able to say.
Saintseneca formed in Columbus, Ohio and as their band page states it was "Childhood and chance that bought us together". A very fitting statement, and is expressed strongly throughout their music, with lyrics that delve into the mistakes, tolls on their friendships and far deeper things such as death, the afterlife and love. An example of some of this lyrical perfection is from the song Shipwrecks and Missing Dogs.
Speaking of lyrics they are masterfully preformed by Zac Little, his roughish, shaky voice adding the perfect amount of texture that compliments the emotion that is expressed and rawness of the lyrics. His voice truly shines through on tracks such as Beasts, where the listener can hear every heartfelt moment that he sings about as if it were their own. Cold Water History changes it up with band member Steve Jacobs bringing his more popish vocal style to make one of my personal favorite tracks off this album.
The instrument playing for this album is top notch, each guitar strum and banjo twang having its perfect place; whether it is in the background or sanding shouting out front. You can hear the obsession that Saintsencea has with acoustic instruments, with violins, guitars, banjos and a plethora of sounds that I wish I had the musical knowledge to place a name to. Stomps and claps are added to amazing effect here, adding that bit of oomph that is lacking from some other folk bands.
After listening to this album for well over 100 times since it was released I can confidently say that the joy of it has not diminished even slightly. This is diffidently my top album for 2011, if not all time (up to now). The joy that I feel from this album are something that is difficult to put into words. Give it a listen, I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.