August 07, 2003

The Saturday People "The Saturday People"

Gotta love the DC music scene. Over the past twenty years, that one city's provided a range of wonderful, interesting and intelligent music. The Saturday People are indie-rock veterans of the scene, and it would probably be a lot easier to list the bands these guys haven't been in. Either way, their pedigree speaks for itself, and it's certainly a factor responsible for The Saturday People being a wonderful little record. The Saturday People's self-titled debut was a good, if not totally consistent pop affair. It balanced the sounds of old and new, and though some moments weren't as good as others, the album showed that they were capable of making some pretty good pop.

The cover art should tell you a great deal about what The Saturday People is going to sound like. Made up to look like a vinyl album of days gone by, The Saturday People is a vintage exploration of the wonderful indiepop of yore, with a hint or two of something a bit more retro. They have more than their fair share of jingle-jangle moments that just scream late 80s and early 90s retro indie-pop, but there are also moments of pure 60s harmony bliss, such as the lovely three-part harmonies on "Preamble" and "Man Without Qualities Pt. 1 (Drunk in the Babypool)." Could it be that The Saturday People are the first band to be retro about the retro bands of ten years ago? Are they the first retro-squared indie pop group? Of course, what DC indie-pop record would be complete without a visit from the ubiquitous Pam Berry? Yup, she pops up here on "No Photos Exist." Always good to hear her, you know. And the blissy, lovely "When You Come Around" and "Conditional Tense (Now It's Gone)" are worth the price of admission alone.

At first, I wasn't too keen on the six unlisted tracks at the end of the record, but listening to them again, they're actually quite rewarding. They're sonic clips--some from the previous songs, others are not--that are oddly ambient, yet highly melodic. Personally, I'd love to hear some of these ideas fleshed out, but that's just me. The Saturday People is a wonderfully strong mini-album, and it leaves me wondering when we'll hear more from these fellows.
A fine, fun and quality release from expert pop-makers and music reviewers.

--Joseph Kyle

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