“Dark Arc” Dominates Indie-Punk Domain

Saintseneca is the leader of the pack when it comes to indie-folk sounds.

JJ Rivas, Columnist

The Band Saintseneca from Columbus, Ohio, released the album “Dark Arc” on Apr. 1, 2014, on their bandcamp page for a total of $7 (or more, if you so desire).

The album is around 39 minutes long and most certainly doesn’t overstay its welcome. The best way I can describe the certainly unique and very welcome sound of Saintseneca would be a sonic “I-Spy” book of various ethnic and folk instruments, from the Russian balalaika, to the maracas beating a snare drum, and even the sound of the electric guitars playing in unison with a ukulele. Nearly every noise seems thoughtfully manifested and each word sounds equally deliberate.

“Dark Arc” starts out strong with the song “Blood Bath.” It not only sets up the album perfectly, but also establishes a tone that’s as familiar as it is unique. The fusion of what’s now typical indie-folk sound along with traditional folk voices is complemented by the very punk-inspired lyrics. The product is brilliant and genuinely separates them from falling into a rut of sounding like every other indie-folk band.

By blending ethnic folk instruments with a sound that’s ultimately inspired by western folk music, they create unique notes that sound like the instruments are being used in ways they weren’t initially intended. This instrumentation works beautifully with the lead singers, and creates a very expressive voice that’s as mighty as it is frail and understated. Each of the two voices are equally beautiful, especially in how they interact and meld with each other. Both singers’ voices remain strong and full throughout the album.

The song “Fed Up with Hunger” really stuck with me by the end of the album, due to its overall message and how that message is expressed to be particular. The amount of songs I’ve heard that say things are unequal or wrong is plentiful, but the amount that propose that notion as a question or rather a vague inquiry is significantly more rare. I feel it’s not only a better way of expressing the conviction, but also a better way to make the listener question what they’re hearing and the world around them.

Throughout the album, the band gives off this unique and rare vibe that one can only get from traditional ethnic folk music from various countries. And yet there was the familiarity of a western indie-folk band thrown in the mix, and that really defined it.

The album “Dark Arc” is an absolute favorite of mine and has been and will be played countless numbers of times. The integration of ethnic folk and western indie and folk-punk is something I’ve been looking for for a while at this point and I’m pleased to say that Saintseneca nails that feeling perfectly. While they still keeping a tone of familiarity, it allows them to not only be accessible but also extremely catchy and memorable.

If you have $7 (or more) lying around and you want to hear something that’s both unique and still recognized, I definitely suggest “Dark Arc.”