One of the highlights of this past summer’s third iteration of the Bunbury Festival was the electrifying appearance of Saintseneca, a supremely talented Indie/Folk quintet from Columbus, Ohio. The band was founded by Zac Little during his teenage years in rural Noble County. Saintseneca continued when Little and two of the band’s original members left to attend Ohio State, where Little assembled a touring version of Saintseneca.
After self-releasing a pair of EPs and maintaining a steady road presence, Saintseneca signed with Mama Bird Recording Co. for its full-length debut, 2011’s acclaimed Last. The album’s title carried a touch of irony. Little and his bandmates amicably parted ways after their hometown release party.
Within a year, Little had fashioned a new lineup of Saintseneca. He signed with Anti-/Epitaph last year and worked on home recordings for nearly a year before decamping to Omaha, Neb., with producer Mike Mogis to record the band’s sophomore album, the patently excellent Dark Arc.
Saintseneca’s appeal is broadly diverse; fans of Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers will be drawn into the band’s Indie/Folk sphere of influence, but there are equally potent hints of The Shins, The Decemberists, Destroyer, several factions of the Wainwright clan, Nick Drake, Beck and Bon Iver, with Little’s offbeat vocal presence veering toward the Jules Shear School of Appropriate Quirk.
As a whole, Saintseneca weaves back and forth between earnest Folk reflection and ramshackle Rock chaos, the latter taking the fore in the live presentation. The band is about the ephemeral love of music and the ability to successfully blend the off-kilter with the expected and come up with a reality that is part mirage, part mutation and completely fascinating.
SAINTSENECA plays Wednesday, Nov. 19 at Southgate House Revival. Find tickets/more info here.