Saeta – Resign to Ideal

Resign to Ideal

Saeta’s third album crept up behind me on whispered footsteps and clobbered me over the head with crescendos and emotion. Never have I been so surprised by an album, so unsure what to expect. It helps that my first listen to Resign to Ideal, this Seattle band’s third album, was very late at night with all the lights off, when my CD changer switched to it without my remembering putting it in three days before. This is the perfect album for that time at night, as evidenced from the very beginning piano and cello to lead into “To Fear You Return.”
An album this rich, this well orchestrated that doesn’t contain members of Godspeed You Black Emperor is rare these days. That Saeta self-released this album is even more surprising. At times haunting, at times rich and deep, at times peaceful and melancholy, Resign to Ideal‘s only fault is that its 10 songs never feel like enough, that I’m left wanting more.
Piano, cello, guitar, and even dabbles of horns turn this album into an orchestrated, chamber-feeling work, yet it’s clearly kept in the indie rock spectrum. Vocals are used sparingly and usually in Matt Menovcik’s gravelly, hushed voice complemented at times by Lesli Wood. The vocals soar as the opening track builds and fades away, drifting effortlessly into “Give Unto Me,” a Low-like subtle, dreamy track. The strings flow in almost unnoticed on the spacey and, yes, haunting “Haunted By,” and the dreamy background of sparse guitar and haunting strings makes “Will it Ever Be” a gloriously soft and full song.
The almost seven-minute “Intro – You and I” is a gorgeous work, filled with piano and strings, drifting along lightly yet urgently at times, building and fading, and it’s clearly one of the strongest tracks on a strong album. Menovcik and Wood sing together, their voices contrasting but complementing wonderfully, as they sing melancholically, “The past is fading / and I don’t know what to believe / get ribbons for faking / get honors for cruelty / it’s all I see / it’s all I feel.” You’ll never notice “Let it Go” is almost seven minutes long, as the piano and violin could go on forever without complaint. “In Time We Shall” gets deeper, riding cello and moody backgrounds, while “She” is maybe my favorite track. This tune is so lovely, calm and peaceful, following a simple yet starkly pretty piano line and fading away to nothing before building again on Menovcik’s gravelly voice and shimmering horns.
Saeta’s music, under the production work of musician/board guru Kramer, is absolutely beautiful, at times breathtaking. This is quiet music meant to be played loud, so every rich piano note, every guitar chord, every draw of the strings is easily heard. Any fan of Godspeed would do well to have this in their collection, for this is an endearingly excellent work.