Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Seven Saturdays - Seven Saturdays
SCQ Rating: 75%
With a name like Seven Saturdays, one might peg Jonathan D. Haskell’s project as a triumphant ode to excess that muses weeklong binges running Sunday through Sunday, or a chronological soundtrack to seven consecutive weekends. While either could be a possible root of origin for this Los Angeles multi-instrumentalist’s moniker, I can assure you Haskell’s debut EP sounds prepped for neither extroverted clubs nor raging house-parties. Instead, we’re ushered into the twilight hues and nocturnal tones of ‘The Shallow End’, a track as dark and comforting as the backseat of a taxicab once you’ve stumbled free of the dancehall’s dry-ice and sweat-covered crowds. Over the course of thirty minutes, Seven Saturdays doesn’t deal with weekend throw-downs so much as escaping their chaos for quiet reflection.
Delivering on that opener’s foreboding promise, ‘Secret Things’, in its rise from pedestrian live-drums to swooning orchestration, reveals Haskell’s top-form trademarks as that of a pop-conductor. Communicating a distinctly urban air drawn from his inescapable home of Los Angeles, Seven Saturdays pivots between late-night, lonely traffic lights (on the palpably transient ‘Love In the Time of Anticipated Defeat’) and string-laden daydreams (‘Good Morning, I Love You’), assured in their overt romanticism but grandiose in the scope of one’s wistful imagination. That combination of melodic drones and symphonic pop, respectively, gels together fluently, establishing a rock-solid emotional range while trading low-end meditations for sky-bound anthems. No track accomplishes the latter better than ‘A Beautiful Day’, the closing track which overrules Haskell’s quieter output and decides Seven Saturdays’ M.O. for surging, harmonious scores caught somewhere between live-instrument electronica and post-rock.
His basic set-up of keys, violin and drums may seem redolent of another electronic-fringe artist who resides just up the coast, Jimmy Lavalle of the Album Leaf, and the comparisons are fruitful for both artists. Yet while Lavalle has mellowed his output into increasingly digestible mood-music tablets, Jonathan D. Haskell imbues a restlessness throughout Seven Saturdays, beatific yet hungry, which over five tracks allows for a convincing display of well-planned impulsiveness. An impressive independent release worth checking out and a first-step I’m eager to see followed up on.