Journal of Retreat by Saint Solitude
Saint Solitude is the brainchild/alter ego/band of singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Dup Crosson — though “band” is a bit of misnomer since Crosson (who doesn’t reveal his birth name) plays all the parts. The one man band of recent years (White House, Sparklehorse) is a far cry from a solo artist with a guitar, a harmonica and — coordination allowing — a kick drum. Saint Solitude’s sound is rich and layered; Retreat is likely a journey into a kinetically creative psyche.
Retreat is the debut release by newly formed local label Alive & Well Records, but it’s Crosson’s second full-length effort; a followup to 2008’s Disaster Stories. Alive & Well calls Retreat “aptly titled” but in fact the album is neither a collection of hyper-personal diary entries, nor is it in any way retreating. While Saint Solitude’s style might be too mellow for dancing, but warm beats, hooky melodies and Crosson’s dusky tenor create an atmosphere of dreamy anticipation.
Opening track “Soft Contact” begins with a creshendo of voice and percussion; “Let’s Try It” follows with an excellent guitar and bass intro that builds to the sort of shimmery, emotive rock associated with commercial darlings Band of Horses, Rilo Kiley and Arcade Fire.
Where darkness is suggested (“Car Crash Headline”), Crosson’s bouyant and even bubbly pop rises from a fuzzy twilight bassline: “Looks like trouble, looks can kill me. Should have believed her, boy, should have believed her,” is the refrain, reminiscent of angsty/poppy post-new wave bands like the Cure and Psychedelic Furs. Even “Flocking Disaster,” with its theatrical organ and sweeping, echoing vocals, pulls in an urgent and driving beat in it’s last 45 seconds – as if Crosson himself can’t wholly despair. This, of course, is the beauty of pop and music fans who love the pulse-racing feel-good cinematic rush of indie pop will find a kindred spirit in Saint Solitude.
—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter