Music: Rich Sounds

Beyond the Drone by Saint Rich is a mosaic of songs and two aural landscapes. On the title track, which starts the album,  we are treated to a blend of piano and feedback interspersed with what sounds like a recording of military transmissions that smoothly slides into the weirdly anthemic "Officer" with its chorus of "Officer, Officer, please don't hurt me sir." Saint Rich has an uncanny ability to create big sounds, and on "Officer" they create a swirling sound that would be at home on Abbey Road. But Beyond the Drone is full of variety and "Sorry/Sadly" the next song, is a completely different beast, a bluesy stomp, done in an off-time signature and in a sharp key.

The one constant on Beyond the Drone is the interesting and complex interplay of the guitars, with lead lines that sing as if a second vocalist in a way that would make Steely Dan jealous, especially on songs like "Young Vultures" and "Already Gone", ultimately culminating in a song like "Don't Bring Me Down" where the lead line becomes the "voice" and the vocals are an instrument providing texture. Then there are songs like "Coming Home" with a piano  providing the main drive, with strings mixed low underneath adding staccato stroking urgency with an overdriven lead line mixed in which adds yet another dimension to the sound of Beyond the Drone. And there are many dimensions to Saint Rich, for a band consisting of two members, where like a uniquely cut jewel Beyond the Drone turns with each song to expose another unseen facet adding to the complexity and richness of the totality.

Saint Rich (photo by Kyle Dean Reinford)

Saint Rich (photo by Kyle Dean Reinford)


Beyond the Drone by Saint Rich is out now from Merge Records .


A digital download was provided for review.