Seattle band Saeta’s latest effort, We Are Waiting All for Hope, is their fourth full-length recording. The band enlisted renowned producer and engineer Steve Albini this time, and the result is a chance to hear Saeta as they sound in live performances.
The miracle of Saeta is that, using Matt Menovcik’s songs, a lineup of naked acoustic instruments (piano, acoustic guitar, cello, male/female vocals, and the occasional accordion performance), and Lesli Wood’s arrangements, they manage to create something that is not only intimate, but complete.
Still, you might need to listen to this disc a few times to truly appreciate it, simply because most of our ears are trained to hear ambitious songs rendered by the traditional rock band lineup. Likewise, most of us are accustomed to acoustic instruments used in the “quiet” moments of rock n’ roll, or in the sprawling genre of Americana. Menovcik writes ambitious songs that swell to unabashed climax (check out “Can You Forgive,” “Anywhere But Here” and “Everything”), and Wood’s arrangements skillfully make the most of Saeta’s unorthodox lineup. The band’s skills translate beautifully to a cover of The Smiths “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me”.
However, Saeta also takes advantage of their instruments’ abilities to create beautiful, hushed tension on several tracks – the best of these is the simple but gorgeous “You Fade”, in which every part is essential, and Menovcik’s words and vocal line find a home within the counterpoint of guitar, piano, and cello.