The Austin Chronicle

Record Reviews

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Michael Chamy, September 29, 2000, Music

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.


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