From the fade-in of the opening track, it’s obvious that Anything To Get Back, the new full-length album from Cincinnati’s Saturn Batteries, is going to be good. Saturn Batteries’ hallmark sound of guitars and grooves are on display throughout, but they have managed to branch out, expanding their sonic palate into new territory – with remarkable results.
Saturn Batteries has a very well-defined style – they are a band that knows what they’re about – and that comes through on every track on the album. It all starts with the groove, whether it’s punchy or smooth, fast or slow, it’s there, ever-present, driving everything to follow and keeping the listener’s head bobbing and foot tapping. The guitar work, at times frantic and biting, sometimes ethereal and open, creates that atmosphere in which the song can live. The vocals, ardent and genuine, ring through the mix – sometimes otherworldly, sometimes cutting straight through. This is not to say the album is in any way “formulaic” – far from it, in fact. Saturn Batteries has a sonic fingerprint that comes through loud and clear and ties the record together.
The album opens on “Sharp” with a dark, mysterious groove, which is only interrupted by band hits punctuating the chorus. The end segues into the title track, featuring another infectious groove and ringing vocals. The tempo picks up a bit on the peppy “Things We Do That Make Us All The Same,” taking a “traditional pop” song and painting it with that sonic fingerprint. The song features a solid guitar solo, or perhaps more appropriately duo, as the two parts play off one another to wonderful effect.
“When I Was Opposed To Her,” the lead single from Anything, is probably the poppiest song on the album, loaded with captivating hooks, and some intricate guitar work. “The Panda’s Friend” follows, its opening riff leading into an intense piece, repeating the line, “Say what you mean to say,” and ending on a solo featuring some of the best guitar work on the album. “I’m Not Here Today,” another intense track, soars under some lofty vocals and thoughtful instrumentation.
“I’m Okay. I’m Not Down” has a vaguely late ‘60s kind of feel, again all delivered with Saturn Batteries’ unmistakable sound. The album slows down considerably with the emotionally brutal “Do You Feel Well?” The sonic palate is expanded again, this time featuring a guest appearance by Lung’s Kate Wakefield on cello. The result is a sound that is both impending and somber, perfectly supporting the poignant lyrics.
The beat picks back up with “Over and Over,” a peppy tune to bring you back from the depths of the previous track. The album closes with “You Are A Part Of Me.” The guitars come in like a broken radio transmission, setting up the beat for the coming drums and bass. The song is deliberate, forceful, and big, and with its sudden, sharp ending, leaves the listening immediately wanting more. It’s a perfect ending for a damn good album.
If you like good groove-driven, guitar-heavy pop rock (think Dada’s self-titled album), definitely check out Anything To Get Back.
2) Anything To Get Back
3) Things We Do That Make Us All The Same
4) When I Was Opposed To Her
5) The Panda’s Friend
6) I’m Not Here Today
7) I’m Okay. I’m Not Down.
8) Do You Feel Well?
9) Over and Over
10) You Are A Part Of Me