If Saintseneca’s new album Dark Arc is a sonic step toward a more ambient elsewhere for the Columbus, Ohio-based five piece, then the band known for its use of traditional acoustic instrumentation has had to figure out how to remain Saintseneca on the live stage.
The video below (from a 2013 tour stop in Omaha) captures a boot-heavy, chugging acoustic iteration of the song “Happy Alone” from Dark Arc. By contrast, its album version hinges more on electric guitar and the distant approach of ambient noises that defy the tightness of frontman Zac Little’s nasally lilt and the song’s unifying chorus.
Of transposing songs from Dark Arc into a live space, Little offers that each new performance takes a shot at answering the question, “How do we take things that are more or less impossible to recreate and imagine that as electric guitar or bass?”
The production on the album lends further ambiguity to songs that already appear to relish in contradictions of lyrics and mood. Album producer Mike Mogis (of Bright Eyes notoriety) — coupled with Little’s taste for the deceptively biting pop lyric — endowed Dark Arc with soundscapes fitting of the emotional complications playing themselves out in songs like “Happy Alone.”
Dark Arc was released on Anti- on April 1 and is available on iTunes now. Saintseneca takes off on a North American tour in June (dates here). Now, watch Saintseneca perform “Happy Alone” from their Nov. 14, 2013 set at Omaha’s Slowdown:
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