Saucer Turns Up The Heat with “Not Until Four”
TROY – With the release of their sophomore album, Not Until Four, Saucer has really broadened their sound. Consisting of Jim Crawley, and Jim Temple, along with Crawley’s son, Evan, Saucer’s newest record blends sounds that span decades. From indie to alternative, grunge to moments of pop and punk, there’s a lot for listeners to sink their teeth into.
Serving as the album’s opener, “Vicious Lies” features overdriven guitars that are set over a pounding drum pattern. Reminiscent of early-aughts rock ‘n roll, this album takes no time to establish its groove and rhythm. Though straightforward in its arrangement, there are moments of dissonance in the chord progression that are placed in effective places. It’s done in a way that isn’t showy, yet it serves as a ledge for listeners’ ears to grab on to.
With a melody to match the song title, “Catatonic,” harkens back to grunge-era sounds. Everything sits in the pocket well, and not one instrument is too flashy in its part; it’s a well-crafted tune.
For “Rise To,” it’s as if the previous tracks were blended together, put into a major key, and sped up. The left turn in terms of sonic direction helps to transition the album well. What grabs my ears on this tune is the almost DI sound of one of the guitars – it sounds like one of the parts is incredibly dry; not at all run through an amplifier.
Swerving into a more indie-rock sound, the intro to “Over Indulgent,” track four, instantly caught my attention. Simple but catchy riffs are scattered throughout the chord progression. The vocal has a certain effect placed on it – almost a fuzzy kind of mute – that is really intriguing. There’s a bit of a sardonic, tongue-in-cheek nature to the lyrics, and the melody helps drive that feeling home. Sections of this song are quite reminiscent of something that David Lowery would write.
Next up is “Brown Sound”, which features much more of a punk-rock feeling. Though also true of the past tunes on the record, the guitar tone on this track is particularly great. After the first chorus, the band includes nice volume swells on the guitar that squeak through the wall of sound created by the other instrumentation. With each pass of the song, listeners’ ears are able to grab on to a new part of the arrangement that, although subtle, helps make the song what it is. Finishing the song with a final chorus, followed by a long-sustained chord, the energy is effectively brought down.
A metallicky (is that a word? It should be!) chorus-soaked guitar opens “Kind,” track six. Filled out nicely with the full-band instrumentation, the overdrive used is perfect – not too much to make the notes indistinguishable, but just enough to add that wonderful color. After the first chorus, we are greeted with a warbly, and odd-sounding synthesizer during the interlude. A cool tune.
Some songs on this record are definitely stronger (“Over Indulgent”) than others (“Garden Spoils”). That being said, it is safe to file “Reach For Something,” track nine, in the former category. Between the driving-forward sound, the repetitious and infectious nature of the guitar parts and melody – all complemented by the drum and bass patterns – this song is very fun to listen to.
The penultimate track, “Lonely,” is catchy as hell. Featuring an interesting fade-in, the nature of the guitar part against the vocal is dripping with new-wave goodness. This song is best listened to with the speakers threatening to distort as you’re blasting down the highway.
Unlike any other track on the record, the closing number “Spin,” opens with a strong bass riff. Blending alternative sounds, with sludging guitar riffs, it’s a nice sound. If there’s any credence to the musical adage of “repetition legitimizes,” put this song in the proponent column; it’s almost hypnotic in certain sections. During the latter half of the song, it turns into a kind of sonic carousel – various parts start repeating over each other – and it slowly morphs into chaos, before finishing. The drawn-out outro is a cool way to end the record.
Whether it’s indie-rock, punk, or alternative, Saucer dives deeper into their craft with Not Until Four. Building on their debut release, there’s a lot of different sounds and genres on this record that definitely have potential to find the band new fans. Check it out for yourself here.