Touring after the Luaka Bop debut record Wondervisions, Delicate Steve was essentially the solo project of Steve Marion - a wonderfully talented guitarist - fleshed out with additional musicians. Touring last year for the Positive Force record, Delicate Steve had become a band experienced at making music together.
Now comes a surprisingly complete debut album from Delicate Steve side project Saint Rich, featuring guitarist Christian Peslak as the frontman and Marion as the drummer.
It's a very different sound. Delicate Steve is a mostly instrumental band, rooted in the fluid, expressive and meandering guitar that Marion uses often as a replacement for vocal melodies. Saint Rich, which began after a winter storm kept the rest of their Delicate Steve bandmates away from practice, is a much more straightforward rock band, blending some acoustic and country-ish leanings with indie power-pop hooks.
The lead single "Officer" is an attack of fuzzed out guitars; "Young Vultures" is up-tempo yet easy-going, with intertwining melodies from the lead guitar noodling and Peslak's vocals; "Crying From the Home" kicks off with a quickly strummed acoustic guitar, building to a blissful climax.
Peslak is a singer and songwriter who would have certainly found his way with or without Marion, but there's clearly a thrilling creative collaboration at work on Beyond the Drone.