Generally speaking, a change of pace is known to be a remedy for the soul. So how fitting it is that Melbourne’s nine-piece soul outfit Saskwatch have returned as six, ready and willing to take you down another path. Their latest offering, Sorry I Let It Come Between Us, is an evolutionary one at that. Shifting and sliding between guitar heavy pop, bluesy melancholy and soulful ballads, the new album offers an emotionally assertive voice matched equally in musical intricacies.
The album itself was recorded over a month long period at Mt Slippery – an old silversmith warehouse cum recording studio on the outskirts of Philadelphia, America. It’s the studio of Dr Dog’s Scott McMicken and Nathan Sabatino, who together produced the album. Saskwatch have long been big fans of Dr Dog, both musically and in their work as producers, and relished at the chance to head overseas and work alongside them. The result: a raw, solemn and sparse collection of genre-jumping songs.
The first single off the album I’ll Be Fine is reminiscent of the upbeat Saskwatch we know and love. It’s an optimistic and fuzzy three minutes that serves as a great preface for the ten tracks to follow. But just as the reassuring empowerment of the strong vocals and heavy guitar propels you into the next song, In Your Arms has you doubting your ability to move forward all together. It’s an achy track, nostalgic in its lyricism and with a shifting melodic pace to match. Similarly, Spitting Image presents a hauntingly delicate acoustic introduction, only to delve into a whirlwind of percussive pangs and echoing guitar. At this point it becomes more and more apparent that this album is an offering of onomatopoeic proportions – whatever you’re told to feel, you can’t help but hear it too.
Everyone’s Giving Up is on the more bluesy side of things. Proclamatory and proud, it offers a deeper sound and brings with it the most brass heavy track of the record. Then comes the refined simplicity of Every Morning. It is consistent in its feel – slow and impending, it encompasses deflation both musically and lyrically. If you were starting to think you were coming out the other emotional side: think again. But as always, almost as though the record can feel us on the edge, it takes our hand and walks us back with Time To Let You Go. It’s a song that is poppy and assertive with a subtle eastern influence. And coupled with lines like ‘I know you’re not a victim, you can’t pretend’, its encore has potency.
The fuzziness and pulse returns in Bite My Tongue, a horn filled chorus that takes us to the peak of the album. And then it’s all down hill from here – a breezy couple of minutes listening to the eerie lullaby of Blind, and a cheerful few hearing the optimistic strumming in Down The Stairs. Next, the title track Sorry I Let It Come Between Us delicately fumbles through the first few strings, as it finds the courage to turn into a confidently sung serenade, accompanied by a perfectly underplayed guitar. And finally, Your Drug is the last offering of the album. A conclusion in many senses, Anele utters ‘everybody wants to be in love’ as the song steadily increases in magnitude.
While Saskwatch spent their first two albums establishing themselves and their sound, this one takes on another trajectory entirely. It’s the epitome of progression through its refinement, honesty and simplicity – a product of a band who is comfortable in the malleability of their own sound. No more sound searching here, this time just soul. Sorry I Let It Come Between Us is out on June 13th through Northside Records / Remote Control.