Sunday, 31 July 2016

EP: The Saxophones - If You're On The Water

The Saxophones If You're On The Water
Jesse Littlebird Photography

The Saxophones - Best Boy

Info: 'If You’re on the Water', while self-released, is the The Saxophones’ first studio recording. It was recorded and mixed on an analog Toft console by Cameron Spies (co-founder/leader of Portland band Radiation City) over the course of a spring week in Portland, Oregon. It features Alexi Erenkov on guitar, vocals, and woodwinds; his wife, Alison Alderdice, on percussion and vocals; and his longtime friend and collaborator Richard Laws (Hosannas) on bass, vibraphone, and Crumar synthesizer. 

The title track was inspired by a summer week that saw suicide, the transition of a relationship, and Alexi and his father’s nearly fatal boating accident. If origin stories intrigue you, you can learn more here.

Oakland, California band The Saxophones' debut EP, If You're On The Water, had immediate impact from the opening few seconds of its title track. To get the slight touchpoint references I personally felt out of the way, there was a half-way house between the short distance from The Walkmen's 2008 album You & Me and I Am Kloot's Sky At Night (2010), but...I found lead vocalist Alexi Erenkov's voice a far better fit with my musical taste and what pleases me.

The Saxophones - If You're On The Water

Deary me though, 'If You're on the Water' is so beautiful, often lyrics are written as an accumulation of past experiences or one moment in time romanticised through a prism of fractured memories, and rarely (but not entirely uncommonly) from recent events. Like the remainder of the EP, it would seem impossible that anybody, no matter how little or great their interest in music, would not be impacted emotionally on some level by this track, musically it is balm for the heart and the harmonies with Alderdice a caressing of the soul.

Second track 'New Tradition' lays your head down and harks way back to 50's jazz sounds with it's soft saxophone and slow, distant percussion, guitar and vocals are pained and sincere, everything sounds so accomplished here and its just over four minutes feels like it has passed in no time at all. Finally, as if you haven't had your fill, The Saxophones own your mood with closer 'Best Boy' (top). The calmly defiant verse; 'There's a pain in my teeth, there's a pain in my feet, there's a feeling of dread I can't reach, but it feels good, I'm still young, I swear I know how to have fun, there's a pity party happening tonight at my house, you may be invited, just be sure you don't open my mouth' acknowledges personally experienced tragedy, places it in a box, not to be forgotten, but not being allowed to impinge on moving on. If You're On The Water is quite simply, one of the most gorgeous collection of debut songs I've heard, and I'm so sad and glad I did!

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