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Wreck At Pillar Point , 7/10
Flags For Unknown Territories , 5/10
Mid The Green Fields , 6/10
American Kestrel , 5/10
Pleasure of Ruins , 4/10

(Clicka qua per la versione Italiana)

Saturnine 60 are a band from New York comprising Jennifer Baron (guitar), Matt Gallaway (guitar and vocals), Jim Harwood (drums) and Mike Donofrio (bass). The 1994 singles (Almost Impossible , Playing Backwards Gaze) and their debut EP, Autoglider (Dirt, 1995), recall My Bloody Valentine and, above all, Galaxie 500: a psychedelic noise-pop that coalesces in languid and melancholy ballads. Wonder, Nothing's Matching, Then Again begin in a soft, quiet tone but quickly rise to epic and distorted climaxes.

The renamed Saturnine (without the "60") released a first full-length, Wreck At Pillar Point (Dirt, 1995), that sounds like a soundtrack for a terminal coma. The band's creativity shines in the number of different ways they can dress up the same depressed act. Experiments range from the martial instrumental bolero of Mikes Co to the the epic and swooning mantra of Give Me Reasons, from the light Velvet Underground boogie and solemn hymn of Had Enough to the dilated country-rock of Reeling. The guitars' counterpoint is often the emotional core of the song Baron's vocal contribution is limited, although crucial: witness how the burning riff of Ground Truth is appeased by the serene, celestial backing vocals. Echoes of Neil Young (the waltzing serenade This Time The Best), the Byrds (the jingle-jangling Slightly Less Than Even) and REM (the melodious ballad Your Maps, the slow hypnotic dirge of Summer Was A Waste) fill the album with a sense of dejavu that, rather than detracting, adds to the overall climax. The codas benefit from the soaring psychedelic harmonies that the two guitarists and the rhythm section manage to concoct with their casual jamming (especially in Mavericks and Tell Me Lies Later). Gallaway's fragile, dreamy, half-whispered vignettes are rendered in a no less poetic manner.

The poppier Flags For Unknown Territories (Dirt, 1997) indulges in too many repetitions. Gallaway relies mostly on his words to blow life in a song. Without the guitar interplay, these would be faceless folk-rock imitations.

The atmospheric songs of Mid The Green Fields (VictoriaLand, 1998) are enveloped between two instrumental tracks, Buried Ships and The Field of the Cloth of Gold, that set the bleak but hopeful mood of the album. Cello, piano, horns and flute enrich Saturnine's folk-pop without completely destroying the deeply felt angst of the lyrics. Painting of Life and There`s A Long Long Trail flow better than the previous album's overworked songs.

Trumpets, flutes, and organ punctuate Gallaway's carefully crafted, relaxed, melodic, folk-rock gems on American Kestrel (VictoriaLand, 1999): Neither Lost Nor Strayed, This World Is Made Out Of Fire, etc.

In the meantime, Jennifer Baron has joined Ladybug Transistor.

Sadly, Pleasure of Ruins (Motorcoat, 2001) is even less creative.

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