Brave Saint Saturn - The Light Of Things Hoped For (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Brave Saint Saturn

The Light Of Things Hoped For (2003)

Tooth and Nail

For starters, I will give you a short phrase that will most likely determine whether or not you will continue reading this review: all of this band's members were in Five Iron Frenzy. That's right, Reese on vocals and guitar, Keith on bass and Andrew on drums, and with Dennis on guitar and vocals rather than trombone. This band was started as a side project in 1995 while FIF was still around, as an outlet for Reese's other material.

With that out of the way, let me tell you there are really only a few things connecting the sounds of their past band with the current, although they are big things. One is Reese Roper's voice. He has a very distinct voice - I immediately pegged it as him before reading the band's bio to confirm it. There are two songs that Dennis sings, but let's hope you like Reese's voice. The other similarity is religion. All of these words appear on the album: God, Jesus, Christ, angels, heaven, and savior. However, these are crammed into just a couple songs, so the album really isn't as heavy on God as most FIF albums. Most of these songs are darker and deal with struggling, tragedy and loss, led by "Estrella" a touching song about a friend who had to live with tumors that caused him to lose his hearing, some sight, and general feeling in his body before he died during an operation. This is one of the religious songs, and you really can't blame Roper for using this language, because this is how he dealt with this loss and the burden his friend carried.

Let us back up. The first track, "Prologue", tells of things to come with it's ambient spacey noise and a spoken narrative, which reappears throughout the album to tell a story of a spaceship out of radio contact, on the far side of a moon of Saturn and thought to be doomed. Near the end of the album we find that the craft reappears to return safely. The intro leads into the first real song "The Sun Also Rises," a poppy synth- filled romp reminiscent of Adventures of Jet with a catchy chorus of a seemingly familiar Roper vocal line.

This project stretches far beyond anything Five Iron Frenzy ever did as far as instrumentation goes: acoustic and electric guitars, piano, organ, strings, loads of percussion, and even a musical saw, as played by many guests. But most prevalent of all are the electronics: programming, samples, drum loops and synths. Also, in "Daylight" near the end of the album, Roper screams like he has never done before. So there are no horns, they are replaced by all of the above, the ska upbeats are replaced by slower tunes with acoustic guitar, and the happy tunes are replaced by darker lyrical themes… but still I cannot help think of Five Iron Frenzy. For me, this is a good thing. For some it may not be, but you should keep an open mind because these distinctions may make all the difference to you.

This album is a bit long winded and I find the space-talk a bit cheesy at times, but the songs are all pretty good. I wish more tracks were like the synth pop of "The Sun Also Rises" and "I Fell Away", my favorite tracks, but maybe the eclectic nature of the album is for the best. If you made it this far in the review, be sure to check out Brave Saint Saturn, whether you are a fan of Five Iron Frenzy, spacey synth rock, or just want to hear something a little different and a little (excuse the bad pun) "out there."