From Columbus, Ohio, though having a West Coast sound, Saintseneca, is the outfit of Zac Little, from Ohio State University, where he learned how to play guitar, bass, banjo, mandolin, dulcimer, sitar, piano, accordion, etc. Besides always pronouncing their band name as “Saint Seneca,” which two word structure is apparently wrong, I never knew anything about the members of the band until this record, where their signage to Anti- Records gave them an internet presence.
In 2011, after the release of Last, their debut record, their entire lineup, save for Zac Little, “dissolved,” and were replaced with the members now seen here. The lead singer, Zac Little, who has stayed throughout the process, pretty much is, in my mind, Saintseneca. Exactly the same way that Zach Condon has a band or Justin Vernon has a band, but they’re still Beirut and Bon Iver, respectively.
Little’s voice is very odd, and has an interesting tone I both really enjoy and am kind of annoyed by at the same time. It’s as if he’s doing an impression of The Beatles’ “Nowhere Man” while simultaneously having one of those Thom Yorke dance seizures. But it isn’t Zac Little’s voice that sets apart Such Things from Dark Arc, what I believe to be their best record, it’s the songwriting and the mixing. The songs, in my opinion, just aren’t anywhere near the level of songwriting craft that they were on Dark Arc, but when it comes to mixing, it’s just always been a problem for them.
You’d think by now, especially with their signage to ANTI-, that they would have found a better mixing engineer by now; someone who could separate the panning of the vocals and guitar takes since they’re constantly fighting for the same frequency range the whole record. Unless it’s completely on purpose, and the “wall of indeterminable sound” has always been what they were going for, in which case I honestly don’t know if they’ll ever really hit a bigger market. The easier it is to listen to the music, the more people will listen to it, no one wants to fight to hear the vocals under the guitars. It might be a nice little aesthetic sound live, but not everyone can pull off their own Live at the Apollo.
Listen via Apple Music and Spotify.