Saturna - ...All Night

Mike Mantin 15/10/2006

Rating: 4/5

Portland, Oregon three-piece Saturna are here to fill the hole left by a dearth of spacey, slick American rock, with only an underwhelming Secret Machines album surfacing this year. Their 5-track EP 'All Night' is dense and aesthetically beautiful work, each track featuring multiple layers of fine guitar work. It gives each of the tracks a distinctive shoeglaze, despite their varying influences and styles. Most successful of their experiments are the more understated tracks, like the gorgeous instrumental opener 'Springboard', which climaxes in a glorious explosion of noise worthy of Mogwai. Clearly choosing to bookend the EP with their finest sonic explorations, closer 'Chasing The Unpredictable' reprises the quiet-loud formula, this time in the form of a subtle but powerful ballad, unleashing their true potential.

Sandwiched between these are the band's poppier songs, with 'Pop Rocks' finding the band demonstrating their ability to write a catchy, radio-friendly chorus, and the sublime 'Blanket Of Stars' burning slowly but dramatically into a solo-laden epic. 'Blanket Of Guitars' might have been a more apt title given its beautiful production. The EP's only slight weakness is 'Just For Thrills' which, despite an authentic Courtney Taylor-Taylor impression, doesn't quite hit the mark like the EP's other, subtler songs. It does still, however, have the same impressive production and booming guitars which will no doubt become their trademark. If these songs are an indication of what Saturna can do now, I'm just waiting to see what else they have up their sleeves.