Since the age of 18 I’ve watched ‘local’ bands with a heightened interest. Initially this was due to an obsession with music in general, for the last six or seven years it was my job as well as my passion. I managed music venues and through my own business promoted and encouraged local musicians and bands. I watched local artists maybe four or five nights a week, made many friends and saw some incredible talent, much of which received virtually no recognition outside of my then home county of Dorset. I left Bournemouth well over two years ago now, and at the time there was a band from Swanage (a sleepy, picturesque coastal town in the south-east of Dorset) who had been playing locally for less than a year, primarily in their own remote neck of the woods. I’d heard whispers of the luminosity and brilliance of Saturday Sun from a few who had already seen them – such mutterings I had heard many times before – so I booked them to play purely on hearsay.
They blew me away. Again, this wasn’t the first time a local band had hit my senses hard, but there were a few things that stood out beyond the beauty of the music. Saturday Sun looked, and behaved off stage, like a trio of mellow (stoned), unkempt and unassuming teenagers. Apparently they lived in a caravan, which looked about right. They were faintly affable and shy with youth. On stage they were ridiculously radiant, illuminating the stage with such ease it looked as though they weren’t trying. Before leaving Bournemouth I booked them and watched them many more times, each time becoming more and more overawed by their talent. They weren’t perfect by any means, but Alex Hedley’s vocal talent as well as their ability to mix subtlety and intensity to create such a captivating sound had made them (considering their tender years) a band with huge promise – yes, something else I’ve said so often before.
Soon after my departure they released Seagull – a wonderful self-released 7-track EP recorded at Conversion Studios. Seagull was made a recommended release on the iTunes homepage, their plaudits were growing and live appearances were increasing in number and worth. I’ve watched their progress from afar with great interest, and with fervour and excitement I purchased Orixé, their debut LP soon after its release. Plaudits continue to grow, from Rough Trade to Q, The Guardian and 6 Music. No wonder, Orixé shines like a beacon of youthful hope, mixing acoustic refinement, folk explosions and sonic soundscapes, all perfectly sculptured around the substantial vocal range and prodigious talents of Alex Hedley. More than anything I want music to move me; to affect my mind, body and soul, and Orixé does that in extravagant spades.
Alongside co-founders Alex Hedley and Billy Merrick, Saturday Sun have recruited Allan Varnfield (drums) and Tobias Fitton (guitars) to record Orixé, both known admirers of the band before joining, and both oozing ability. Allan and Tobias only enhance the quality, not altering the band’s sound or aura which (whilst lending from the likes of Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley, John Martyn and Bon Iver) has an abundance of unique qualities. It’s impossible overstate the brilliance of Alex Hedley’s vocals throughout Orixé and attempting to choose a track to highlight his talents is pointless. Jeff Buckley is the most obvious comparison, and much like the great man himself it’s when you see Alex live that his talent and mastery hits you hardest.
Amongst the many live sessions the band have played, here’s a beauty – ‘I Want A Life For You’ recorded for Ont’ Sofa…
This performance not only highlights Alex’s ability, but also showcases Billy’s perfectly restrained electric guitar – a constant highlight throughout Orixé. Such subtlety can go unnoticed, but the band’s ‘less is more’ approach works perfectly, occasionally exploding into a more expansive alt-rock, psychedelic and multi-layered sound. It also reveals their laid-back nature, not taking themselves or their music too seriously, something that has become increasingly apparent from social media updates and interviews…
Q: Hey guys, for anyone that hasn’t heard any of you music how would you describe it?
A: A full cream mr.whippy dripping from a dog’s nose in the rising sun!
Q: What is the album about? Does it have an over-arching theme?
A: It’s about the spreading wings of an eagle, garnishing the nurtured souls of a forgotten past in a time that can only be remembered by a small amount. It’s also about how pizza is good.
Q: Can you tell me about the new 4-piece line up? What do you think it adds to the music?
A: It adds a certain benign decadence to the wings of glory. Mmm hot wings…
Saturday Sun performed to great acclaim at last year’s Larmer Tree Festival, they’ve been tour support for Sigur Rós including a date at the Eden Project, and having now released this gem of an album it would seem even greater things await. ‘Seagull’ has featured on the soundtrack of independent horror film House at the End of the Street, and the band’s ability to paint sublime musical murals would suggest more scores must surely follow. Orixé does more than enhance the promise and potential of Saturday Sun; its maturity and magnificence places the band amongst its musical peers. Listen to the opening three tracks and be engulfed by beauty, listen to Orixé in its entirety and be swept away by a tidal wave of sonic euphoria.
Saturday Sun links: