by Joe Gutierrez
Go ahead and serve yourself up a slab of power-pop perfection from D.C.’s Saturday Night. Their self-titled debut stands out amongst other extraordinary D.C. talents like Big Hush, Flasher, Priests, and Ultra Beauty. Saturday Night’s name says it all- this record is ripe for dropping the needle when the weekend dusk washes over the city and the streetlights flicker on. The tunes here are like magnets that’ll yank at your hips, summoning up the spark to boogie ‘round your bedroom.
There’s an element of surprise to the propulsive energy that disrupts the calm of the palm-muted power-chord shuffling intros of “Fish in the Pond” and “Piper.” The former erupts into a bouncy rumination on perplexing romance, with a conclusion that rings true for all that follows: “Singing this song/ that’s the only thing that makes me wanna move on.” Guitarist Cash Langdon and keyboardist Nora Button share vocal duties across the record. While both shine in their lead roles, their voices function best when harmonizing, and even punctuating through call-and-response. The unabashed affection and devotion apparent in their singing could make any cynic swoon.
Bassist Luke Reddick and drummer Jesse Sattler unleash tight rhythmic waves beneath Landon’s and Button’s melodies, show-casing the chemistry in the band’s composition and performance. A great example of their synchronicity is “Iceberg Baby,” a perfect breather halfway into the record. The soothing instrumental jam has the band vamping on a simple soft rock lick and tunneling in every which way possible, twisting and churning ’til it’s squeezed of everything it’s got. Elsewhere throughout the record, the group cascades and blurs, providing one another with the space and time to shine, soon setting the others up for riff or fill like a basketball player’s alley-oop.
Only one track on Saturday Night breaks the three minute mark, giving this twelve song run a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it air. The album’s function is two-fold- on a completely visceral level, the songs inject a head-bobbing giddiness that affects the whole body, introducing a nervy charge calling on the shake & strut of rock ’n’ roll’s halcyon days. On another level, it provides an experience cloaked in sweet nostalgia, thoughts tethered to the waning afternoons of summer vacations, and how each glance caught and sun squint are all little building blocks of how you see, think, and feel in the “right now”. Saturday Night is a rubber banded bundle of Valentine’s Day cards, a reminder that love is out there somewhere, and worth the wait once you find it.