Since receiving some excellent feedback for their debut album ‘Big Group Hug’ in 2001, Saso have seemingly retreated in to their shell, occasionally peering out in to the open to release their latest, consistently fine selection of songs. ‘Exitudes’, their fourth long player (but first since 2006’s ‘The Middle Ages’), is another quietly effective record which will doubtlessly delight their fanbase but be a little too understated to ensnare the masses.
Similar to previous albums, the songs on ‘Exitudes’ exhibit plenty of restraint so that even when things threaten to boil over they tend to simmer on the brink. By way of an example, the juxtaposition of chilling piano keys against rumbling percussion on opener ‘Billion Hands’ seems to be building in to a thunderous climax. Suffice to say, it never quite happens.
Nevertheless their music is frequently captivating. Resonant guitar chords propel ‘From Limbo’ in to the foreground, ‘Silent Earth’ sees them explore a richly textured form of ambient rock a la Talk Talk whereas ‘Secret Ministry’ revolves around Jim Lawler’s heartfelt vocals. Towards the end of the album, ‘Sooner Or Later’ and the instrumental ‘Pull The Plug’ soundtrack a beautifully sad conclusion. Yet it’s ‘Man Overboard’ which is the standout track as beguiling, yearning verses escalate in to a captivating but typically subtle chorus.
At times you wonder whether their thunder has been stolen by Elbow but whilst that band build their everyman appeal in to anthems, Saso choose to brood quietly in the corner. The result is intelligent, introspective rock music which reveals a little more of itself after each listen.
Elbow, Talk Talk