Well into the twenty-first century, the Pacific northwestern area still produces some of the best music in the country. The early alternative rock movement in the very early 1990s jammed the region’s first stake into the soil, claiming the sister cities of Seattle and Portland as fertile grounds for new music. Stepping forward with a fresh foot is Saturna, a three-piece that was founded in Portland but now divides its residence between Oregon and Seattle. The debut EP, …All Night, is the nighttime companion for any pair of ears on the move. The urban landscape, twinkling in all its skyscraper-to-the-streetlight fiery glory, is captivated in five new tracks from a band with a large stock of experience in tow.
Basement production and multi-instrumentalists may appear often in modern indie rock bands, but Saturna contains years upon years of roadie, tech, and engineering experience, as well as music journalism and computer programming – important perspectives not often found from under the stage lights. Ryan Carroll steps forward with lead vocals, guitar, and bass, and Eric Block with lead guitars and percussion. Unlike most self-produced records, the job done by band member Steve-O equips …All Night’s intricate layering with an attractive polished surface. Having their own hands on the controls, Saturna’s record turned out to be a compilation of five songs that have been tweaked and reworked to reach a point of true completion. On his very own, Steve-O could clone himself and be a band entirely, as he lends guitar, bass, drums, and vocals to the mix in addition to his job as an audio engineer. Ultimately, spending many years learning to understand another band’s sonic desires and helping them to convey that sound has come in handy, …All Night is large and symphonic.
Songs on the record are not hard concepts, but flow with ease from one into the other. The opener, “Springboard,” is exactly that; an instrumental short at exactly three minutes, there’s a timelessness to the song, as it can be inserted anywhere within the record and still make perfect sense. “Pop Rocks” explodes with the influence of the best music of the last twenty years, paying homage to everything from Love & Rockets to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Fuzz, rhythm, and ferocious guitar are sharp and driving, and will solidify your attention upon first listen. The louder, the faster…the better. Songs such as this, or the following ethereality of “Chasing The Unpredictable” are what separate the music listeners from the music lovers, as the latter will find themselves mesmerized by the endless layers of sound that develop upon repeated spins.
Travel is an important factor in Saturna’s songwriting. Within the last five years, visits have included India, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Morocco, Cambodia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Pakistan, Kashmir, Mexico, England, France, Holland, and Canada. The experience of cultural variety and ability to have stepped outside of their element time and time again has a resounding influence on Saturna’s sound, showing years of promise. Not a band that was thrown together on a whim, nor comprised of three guys that simply love to make music but lack the years of experience and collaboration, Saturna is a trio of eclectic, talented musicians who have stood just outside of the spotlight until their instincts told them that it was time to form the band they’d always wanted. Currently planning to release a debut full-length record in 2007, the release of …All Night marks an incredible new sound from one of the most reputable and artistic corners of the country.