Victoria Land / Motorcoat
Gloriously pleasant pop that’s so charmingly simple, yet complex and thoughtful enough that it rarely gets old, Saturnine is wonderfully entertaining. Take the older and slower tunes of R.E.M. like “Man on the Moon,” make them poppier, occasionally include a few background horns and strings, and such is an accurate approximation of Saturnine. Even the vocalist, whose name, along with the other band members, doesn’t even appear in the liner notes, has that slight Michael Stipe feel — emotional, solid, yet distinctly soft and steady.
That withstanding, Saturnine holds its own away from any comparisons to the time-honored Athenians. The eleven tracks on the album are all quite engaging, and flow so well together that the record — which clocks in disappointingly at only a half-hour and change — flies by in one stream of melodic splendor. And with these smartly-weaved insightful lyrics and the guitar-oriented, simplistic-yet-intelligently-comprised pop numbers, American Kestrel is easily a worthy listen.
Motorcoat Records,, 1818 Sherwood Dr.,, Beloit, WI 53511; http://www.motorcoat.com