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Brave Saint Saturn
Title: The Light of Things Hoped For
Label: Tooth & Nail Records
Times: 16 tracks/51:58 minutes
After a near three-year absence, the side project from Five Iron Frenzy's Dennis Culp, Keith Hoerig, Reese Roper and Andrew Verdecchio continues the Brave Saint Saturn ventures across the galaxy in The Light of Things Hoped For. This time around, the sound and lyrics appear to be a bit more universal (pun intended), and I hope the band continues to work together -- and work together more closely in future projects.
Just in case you're new to Brave Saint Saturn, don't confuse this band's music with that of Five Iron Frenzy. 5 Minute Walk Records made it clear from the get-go that the music wouldn't translate to FIF. And it's not just the music, but the lyrics, as well. FIF often employed satire and tackled issues head-on. Brave Saint Saturn's formula is, as our writers have noted, guitar pop and/or perhaps retro. The only similarity Roper's songwriting, which often breaks the fourth wall in using first person and second person (and sometimes third person!) in the same breath.
In The Light of Things Hoped For, the texture of the music is close to that of the the debut project, So Far From Home. There are plenty of arrangements that are old fashioned, straight-ahead rockers, including "The Sun Also Rises," "Titan," and "I Fell Away." On the other hand, there are more emotionally gripping music arrangements, "Binary," "Daylight" (these first two are praise songs), "Anastasia," and "Esterella," which give the overall scope of the band a much more intriguing range. The guys have clearly stretched the boundaries this time around. The most emotionally gripping song is, this time around, not about a broken relationship, but the band's departed friend, Matt Esterella. Titled "Esterella," this song includes a simple arrangement and an absolutely beautiful chorus ("rest your head against the breast of Christ. Hallelujah.").
The band probably took care to order the varied styles of the songs into a smooth flow. However, Brave Saint Saturn could add just a bit more spit-polish to future projects. I'd like to see songwriting collaborations between Reese and Dennis. If Brave Saint Saturn allows itself to gel as a band, the band has a bright future.
This project is incredibly enjoyable. Get on board the USS Gloria for an intriguing trip!
Olin Jenkins December 31, 2003