The Search for Saturnalia
Four Letters (Has Anyone Ever Told You?)
Emerging fresh from South Austin's Bubble studios is the Search for Saturnalia with a fresh slice of hazy, off-tuned guitar licks and understated vocal melodies that recall both the SST label in its prime and turn-of-the-Nineties British Invasion. Which is not to say that ex-Sixteen Deluxer Steven Hall, who produced the album, went all willy-nilly with effects pedals like this was some 16D album. At its core, the Search for Saturnalia's sound is a guitar tuned to the key of vintage Sonic Youth and led on a tight leash by a propulsive rhythm section. These locals stick to these guns for the most part, and it works. At its most engaging -- the crisp "Boomersonata" -- Four Letters
conjures the abrupt vigor of Austin's Trail of Dead. Since their debut EP last year, SFS has added a new, more melodic vocalist in David Denosowicz, while guitarist Tina Lockwood has started singing as well. Denosowicz has a rhythmic delivery that meshes well with the guitar, and Lockwood adds a refreshing sweetness on "Thinking About It" and a fine vocal counterpoint on the moody, atmospheric "Mercury." Search for Saturnalia makes the most of its enticing sound on Four Letters
, clearly a feather in the cap of Hall, and the band itself.