Favorite

Wild Belle and Saint Rich 

WILD BELLE AND SAINT RICH

CLUB CONGRESS

Monday, Sept. 30

It has been a banner year for Merge Records. Other than Polvo's long un-awaited comeback album, they've been batting a very high average, most recently with Saint Rich's Beyond the Drone. This quintet played the kind of rock 'n' roll that would've been labeled as alternative or indie, depending upon which decade in which they emerged. That's not important. What is important is they play somewhat traditional rock music, and they do it excellently. Correctly.

Saint Rich possess every quality of great British rock music from the Stone Roses to the Verve to The Libertines; I was almost shocked they weren't from England. There was a noticeable current American "indie" influence, but it wasn't overbearing. Regardless, they started off with some up-tempo songs, and then mostly settled into a groove of slow burning, torchy ballads. Christian Peslak has an astonishing voice and charisma, and it was on these slower numbers that he really shined. Generally, Saint Rich came across as arrogant, but benevolent. The band's perfectly orchestrated personas (beanpole singer, rocker guitarist, besuited second guitarist, etc.), orderly arrangements, and classic star power recalled the early days of The Strokes, when they were actually exciting, just like Saint Rich.

Critic Greil Marcus once wrote that after seeing Gang of Four open for the Buzzcocks, he left early so the Buzzcocks couldn't "ruin" what had just taken place. I felt the same way after watching Saint Rich, and while I don't have Marcus' privileges, I'm happy I don't because Wild Belle were just as great.

Wild Belle performed bass-heavy reggae music with electronic and world-beat touches. Natalie Bergman's voice sounded like a cross between Billie Holiday and a saxophone, cracking and crackling with perfect timing. The odd melodic instrumental textures complemented the rootsy horns and reggae organ, and Wild Belle's current single "Another Girl" played as Amy Winehouse's heartbroken soul with rock 'n' roll flourishes. More significant was the band's resemblance to New York's culture clash of the early '80s, where nascent hip-hop, dub reggae, electro funk, and punk all collided with fantastic results. Wild Belle consolidated that breakthrough and brilliantly made it sound brand new, with uniformly excellent songs. When Bergman dedicated a particularly bass-heavy beat down to "all the lovers," even the loneliest of us had no choice but to submit and simply get down.

More by Joshua Levine

  • Noise Annoys

    Levine gets a girl and things are Golden
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • Noise Annoys

    Tribulance writes in,gets ink
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • Noise Annoys

    Erudition by any other name
    • Feb 2, 2017
  • More »

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

The Range

Song of the Day: Billy Sedlmayr On Why The Small Faces' 'Tin Soldier' Makes Him Fall in Love With Rock 'N' Roll Again and Again ...

P.P. Arnold, Ronnie Lane, Steve Marriott, Glyn Johns, Kenny Jones, Ian "Mac" McLagan, Billy Sedlmayr

Painting for Pups

Here’s Your Chance to Win Thousands of Dollars

More »

Latest in Live

  • Noise Annoys

    Baby Gas Mask, absurdist soul and prog, plus Chaka!
    • Oct 13, 2016
  • B-Sides: DJQ

    MUSIC AS POETRY
    • Jul 28, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Noise Annoys

    Tribulance writes in,gets ink
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • Noise Annoys

    Levine gets a girl and things are Golden
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • More »

People who saved…

Facebook Activity

© 2017 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation