Saint Rich, the side project of Delicate Steve bandmates Christian Peslak and Steve Marion, debuts with force on Beyond the Drone.
The history of collaboration between Peslak and Marion is obvious as Beyond the Drone sounds like anything but a debut or a side project. There’s confidence and clarity throughout the compositions. The verses have purpose, the melodies have urgency and the guitar licks have chutzpa.
This album doesn’t wait on its audience. “Crying From the Home” and “Young Vultures” lasso ears with bold and cathartic pop and drag them along.
Saint Rich sounds like Phosphorescent with an obsession with glam or Foxygen with a spine. They occupy a space that seems nostalgic, but it’s hard to place them in time. The band captures something much bigger than a specific moment or sound: the feeling of freedom and a touch of rebellion. “I’ve got explorations of my own. You can come if you like,” Peslak sings on “Crying From the Home.”
On “Officer,” Peslak playfully teases a police officer. “You should be happy and you should feel good to be king of the neighborhood,” he jabs before strutting into the flamboyant chorus. Peslak’s coy vocals lend the right amount of sarcasm without crossing the line into overly theatrical.
Intricate rhythms in “You Ain’t Worth the Night” and “Coming Home’s” relative calm provide enjoyable breaks from the full force of the guitar. Beyond the Drone has range and this makes it more than just fun. It has staying power.
Beyond the Drone is out now on Merge Records. Saint Rich will play the Duke Coffeehouse in Durham on November 13.