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Saturday still looks fine 

Nothing's been said about an official hiatus. But since last year's release of the career-defining LP, Fill Up the Room, Saturday Looks Good to Me has significantly quieted down. Band mainstays Fred Thomas and Scott Sellwood have been spending their time cultivating solo musical projects via new 7-inch discs.

Sellwood's Drunken Barn Dance finds the band's keyboardist switching to acoustic guitar to deliver the fiery strum of "A Winter's Tale." It's a quick-pulsed piece of earnest folk music, extolling the hardships of a California expatriate's relocation to the more frigid, wearying locales of mid-Michigan. [Wow, I can relate to that! —Ed.] It also fits in perfectly with the sound coming from the current crop of Ann Arbor singer-songwriters. The b-side, "Evelyn Wears a Tiara," is even more of a charmer. Both blissed-out and sun-kissed, it lazily meanders through verse and chorus. It's the definition of subtle euphoria and a reverb hangover.

Fred Thomas' City Center is similarly born of the world of echo, but leans more heavily on that realm's experimental side. "Gold Girls" is mellow California pop filtered through a soft focus shoegaze lens. With everything severely amped down, Thomas stirs up much more affecting ripples instead of the genre's usual tidal waves of emotional release. "Bray (All Day)" is significantly trippier, thanks to the languid vocal haze that introduces the song amid delay-heavy drones and tribal percussion. This watery orchestra is brought to a peaking moment of chanting clarity and an ensuing steady decay of sound.

Both acts serve up disparate material that draws Saturday Looks Good To Me roots into new territories, although a consistent aesthetic thread remains to please fans of their full-time band — that is, a serious love of and devotion to jamming, lo-fi style.

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October 21, 2020

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