Saintseneca is a young band from Columbus, Ohio led by singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Zac Little. Following in the footsteps of heartland bands who have sought to twist the music of the old weird America into new shapes – from the Violent Femmes to Neutral Milk Hotel – Saintseneca perform songs that sound familiar and uniquely original, all at once. The group utilizes a wide range of acoustic instrumentation (balalaika, mandolin, dulcimer, Turkish Baglama, floor percussion) with more contemporary elements such as synthesizers and electric guitars to create a seamless blend of soaring vocals and vibrant post-punk energy.
With a diverse assemblage of influences ranging from Animal Collective to Bob Dylan to The Beatles and The Cure, the band's poetic lyricism and folk instrumentation is consistently enhanced by elements of pop, post-punk and psychedelia. It is a sound that evolved from playing alongside an array of electrified bands at DIY house shows. “The scene in Columbus is really vibrant and diverse,” Little explains. “The connecting thread has less to do with musical style than a shared ethos. We were this quiet folk band playing with punk and hardcore bands so we would try to channel as much volume and power from those instruments.”
Playing acoustic also allowed the band to develop by playing in decidedly unconventional settings, purposely removing the barrier between artist and listener. “We played under a bridge and in a highway overpass which was like a huge concrete bunker,” Little says. “When we tour we never know where we're going to play. We perform in living rooms and basements. Last summer we followed a dirt road to this remote clearing where these kids had gathered and played inside a Yurt. At times like that there's this feeling that something really unique is happening.”
Saintseneca's latest album Dark Arc is informed by change. While previous records documented the band's celebrated live show, the new record is the result of both a revamped lineup and a dramatically expanded recording process. “We initially recorded in a friend's attic,” Little says. “I wanted to push that idea as far as we could. And after nine months the computer was so full it wouldn’t run anymore.” The band then reconvened at the Nebraska recording studio of renowned producer Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, M. Ward, First Aid Kit) to mix and continue to refine the tracks.
Dark Arc conveys an exhilarating mix of darkness and light; Lyrics of disintegration play out against arrangements brimming with buoyant folk, post punk and pop.