December 10, 2013

LP: SARALEE - SARALEE

SARALEE sounds straight out of your friend's basement.

Once upon a time around a year and a half ago, THE LE SIGH was still trying to find its footing in the blogosphere. We were mostly covering music and art, but I was also posting DIY Travel Guides and Molly was telling you how to have a Gatsby-themed summer. Luckily we have gotten past these awkward growing pains, but there are still some bands that we first reviewed that have stuck with me after the last two years. One of them is Boston's SARALEE, whose 2011 demo I first reviewed in the summer of 2012 after an ex-boyfriend posted about them on Facebook. Saralee is the combined efforts of longtime friends Sara on vocals and guitar and Lee on drums (and has nothing to do with the brand of baked goods, ha). They caught my attention with their rough, warm sound that came from lo-fi recordings made with minimal instruments. I spent the two summers ago listening to their demos while I took the subway back and forth from work and spent hazy afternoons in my overheated Brooklyn apartment. After putting up a spattering of EPs online over the last two years, the duo has finally released their first self-titled full-length on Ride the Snake Records. And since they had briefly fallen off my radar, I was thrilled to finally be able to hear new material from them.

SARALEE retains a lot of the elements that made me first fall for the band – it's filled with fuzzy drums and guitar that add an unexpected cozy atmosphere to the music. The album was recorded in a basement, which is oddly fitting. I can imagine SARALEE being the kind of band you see at house show and later raving to your friend about them over a cigarette. But the songs on SARALEE are also cleaner, tighter, and show the bands growing songwriting skills. They are the ones that you find yourself getting lost in and before you know it, you're subconsciously bobbing your head as the drums pick up in the middle of "The Motion". You might be so wrapped up in the music that you find yourself not paying attention until a lyrics strikes you, like when Sara opens with "Can't remember what silence feels like" on "Silence", or when she sings "You weren't lying when you said that your hands felt dead" on "Cold Feet". Like the band's past releases, Sara is the main vocal force on this album, drawling and yelping over songs that are constantly changing rhythms. The duo maintain a volatile energy on the album that keeps you drawn in from start to finish. Let's hope that the bands at the next grimy basement show you go to are as good as SARALEE.

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Listen to more SARALEE on bandcamp

Written by Emily Thompson