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Saint Rich: Beyond the Drone 

In two Tucson shows, the quick evolution of Delicate Steve was easy to see.

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.

More by Eric Swedlund

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