In the ever-evolving world of music it seems that new genres are born every day, ranging from the accessible alternative-rock to the hipster's avant-garde-neoclassical-jazzy-grindcore. Now, from members of Five Iron Frenzy comes the launch of a new project, Brave Saint Saturn, and with it a whole new genre of music. Welcome to the final frontier: astro-rock!
Pushing musical and lyrical boundaries is all in a day's work for Five Iron Frenzy and Brave Saint Saturn members Reese Roper, Dennis Culp and Keith Hoerig. Brave Saint Saturn's debut album "So Far from Home" is now out, and with it, evidence of some of the most experimental and eloquent songwriting this side of the solar system.
Astro-rock and its twin sister space-pop are foreign terms which aptly describe this album's harmonious collision of Roper's vocals, lyrics and electric guitar, Culp's electric and acoustic guitars, bass, vocals and Hoerig's bass. This central core is heavily augmented by programming, percussion (Satriani's Jeff Campitelli, FIF's Andrew Verdecchio), keyboards, accordions (Those Darn Accordions' Big Lou), strings (Rivulets and Violets' Masaki) and turntables (FIF's Micah Ortega). Produced by Masaki, Brave Saint Saturn takes a huge stylistic departure from the poppy ska-punk of Five Iron Frenzy.
The buzz surrounding the impending release of So Far From Home is growing through Brave Saint Saturn's official website which is averaging nearly a thousand hits per day, as well as positive album reviews. Bandoppler Magazine enthuses "BSS could easily be one of the most standout albums of the year ... Brave Saint Saturn is going where no album has gone before. It may be too real for some people, but that's exactly why it's so good. Enough of hiding the truth with pretty words and fancy phrases, BSS is honest, real and straight forward."
Created by Roper in 1995, Brave Saint Saturn was initially a platform for Roper to express his thoughts on topics traditionally considered dark and emotional. "Lyrically this is definitely the dark side of Five Iron Frenzy," explains Roper. "It is a lot of songs about struggling with the world and tragedy." An example of this, the song "2-29" is about the death of Roper's grandmother. The track opens with the haunting sound clip of the Challenger shuttle's countdown and liftoff as relayed by Mission Control, and then flows directly into the opening lines. Rounding out the poignant lyrics of loss is another sound clip of Dylan Thomas reading his infamous elegy "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night."
Even though loss, alienation, loneliness, numbness and pain are recurrent themes throughout the album, they are not dark for darkness' sake alone. "I've tried to show the redemption and peace of God through tragic things," elaborates Roper. "I think overall the lyrics are about ... hope."