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Music Review: Saintseneca – ‘Dark Arc’

Despite the looming presence of modern indie touches throughout Dark Arc (on Anti), Saintseneca avoids letting the influences dominate, allowing the band’s more artful qualities to shine through. Zac Little’s agile tenor delivers lyrics that pique interest enough to withstand being placed front and center. There is attention paid to the sound and feel of words that lends a heft to the songs often missing in the works of his contemporaries. Additionally, the album as a whole is orchestrated with a variety and sense of space to keep the listener interested from beginning to end. A number of polished electric and…

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Despite the looming presence of modern indie touches throughout Dark Arc (on Anti), Saintseneca avoids letting the influences dominate, allowing the band’s more artful qualities to shine through.

Saintseneca - 'Dark Arc'Zac Little’s agile tenor delivers lyrics that pique interest enough to withstand being placed front and center. There is attention paid to the sound and feel of words that lends a heft to the songs often missing in the works of his contemporaries. Additionally, the album as a whole is orchestrated with a variety and sense of space to keep the listener interested from beginning to end. A number of polished electric and synthesized touches are incorporated to produce a familiar indie sheen that smartly isn’t allowed to swallow the other elements whole. This is good because the songs don’t need to be covered up.

This is not to say there aren’t problems. Many songs on Dark Arc drift into a narrative vagueness that makes it difficult to connect. The verses are at times too full of metaphor, and choruses are sometimes too general to be fully gripping. The use of crowd vocals (and crowd percussion) can also be heavy-handed at times, as if creating choruses by fiat, when the melodies are not enough. There is also a repetition of certain melodic figures and lyrics (for instance the word “flesh” is used a half dozen times) that is noticeable.

That said, songs like “Blood Bath”, “Visions,” and “Uppercutter” are a joy to listen to. The progression from plaintive verse to a blooming field of voices can lift the spirits when done well. Saintseneca’s execution of that formula is masterful.

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About Fritz Chrysler

Fritz Chrysler is a classically trained concert violinist, with awards on the national and international level. He has a PhD in Philosophy and taught classes in Ethics and Philosophy of Art.