I developed a new metric over the weekend, for whether or not I should be writing about a band because I might be too close to them personally: could I call any of the members and ask to borrow a PA on short notice on a Sunday afternoon? If I could, maybe I should skip reviewing their album. Lucky for Sinful Savage Tigers, I was pretty sure that frontman Seth Martin was out of town this past Sunday, so I didn’t call him, so I can still talk about SST in advance of the release of their amazing second LP, The Last Night Of The Revels.
(We never did find a PA to borrow; I went home and took a nap instead. It’s a long story.)
One of the reasons that I love local music, and I’ve written about this before, is that I get to watch process, with those bands who are accessible to me on a daily basis. Since I started shooting SST in the spring, I’ve gotten to hear the early mixes of this album, hang out with them drinking beer and brainstorming ideas for their photo shoot — and putting that whole photo shoot together. I believe that a good photographer will take photos of bands that look like the band sounds, and I believe I managed that with SST this summer.
And the album, The Last Night Of The Revels, is such a tiny gem of a record. The early mixes lived in my car until I knew them my heart, and the final master hasn’t left my CD player since Seth gave it to me. SST hinges on Seth’s sharp and clever (and often terrifically heartbreaking and intimate) songwriting, his rough voice and their clear harmonies, and the ultimate musicianship of the players he surrounds himself — the credits of the album give the arrangements to SST as a whole, and that doesn’t surprise me at all. Seth Barden is one of the best bass players in the Triangle, and Andrew Marlin is the best mandolin player here. Their contributions, Andrew’s gorgeously sad picking on “The Road to Mocharabuiee” and Seth’s fierce bass lines on “Waitin’ In Line”, are as much an intricate part of Sinful Savage’s sound as the songwriting.
If you like bluegrass and songs about broken hearts and trains and the last night of revels, this album is for you. You can get it at iTunes and CDBaby, and you can try two tracks here:
If that’s not enough for you, you can grab SST’s first album for free at their website.
Sinful Savage Tigers officially release The Last Night of the Revels at the Station on Saturday, October 22, with Phil Cook & his Feat opening. Show’s at 9pm, and it’s free, so “I’m going to see Blitzen Trapper” is not an excuse, people. I’m going to see Blitzen Trapper, too, and after their set, I’m scooting across the street for SST. You should do the same thing, because they’re awesome.