For Saintseneca, fatalistic gloom blends seamlessly with a kind of playful sprightliness: Zac Little's songs often simmer in a sad swirl of death and esoterica, but his deadpan ruminations are buoyed by the sounds of exotic instruments, candy-colored pop hooks and many points in between.
On August 31, the Ohio band will return with Pillar of Na, which takes Saintseneca's sound to arty and beautiful new places. Its first single, "Frostbiter," rumbles ominously in Little's mysterious verses — "When granddad died, I got his knife / I cleaned the kitchen and I didn't know why / Such is life as smoke in a sigh / You were well on your way by the day we arrived" — before blooming into sweet, swoony choruses that only augment the mystery.
"I think of this song as a big tree trunk in the woods where people carve their messages — initials, jokes, 'I love you' hearts," Little writes via email to NPR. "It is a work of accumulation. A little space absorbing traces of its environment over time. Every mark corresponds to a different story. Some of them are mine. Some belong to others, yet feel all too familiar."
Pillar of Na comes out August 31 via Anti.