Sometimes when a band gets big, a few members decide to do solo projects or form their own side projects. Christian ska masters, Five Iron Frenzy have three creative fellas who decided to do a little extra. This side project is Brave Saint Saturn, the creation of Reese Roper, Keith Hoerig, and Dennis Culp.
Forget the fact that these guys are key members of Five Iron. Forget that Reese not only does vocals for Five Iron, but for BSS also. Forget that a couple songs remind you a little tiny bit of Five Iron. BSS is a moody modern pop/rock space band that can't help but have fun sometimes.
So Far From Home opens with a "Prologue," which sounds like it could be the theme for a new Star Trek series, along with sleigh bells. A semi-eerie electronic computer voice joins in with illegible words followed by a countdown leading into "Space Robot Five." With a sound along the lines of older Bleach or Lloyd, Reese's vocals are well-placed, but it's almost impossible to separate them from Five Iron. This is especially true with "Independence Day," which at times sounds as if it could pass for a FIF song. However, there are no horns on this album. BSS seems to provide the listener with the answer to the question "What would 5 Iron sound like as a modern pop/rock band?"
"Shadow of Def" throws a curver ball with a groovy and fun, yet controlled, hip-hop influenced tune complete with hip hop lingo and a silly rap by executive producer Frank Tate that's so humorously bad, it's reminiscent of Steven Curtis Chapman's attempt on his song "Got To B Tru." But it's all good since it's not meant to be taken seriously. "Resistor" is a good pop tune, with a sound oddly similar to "The Lumber Song" by Eli. "Fireworks," although not giving credit to anyone else for lead vocals, does not sound like Reese, but my guess is, since it's written by Dennis, he leant his vocal talents here. This song really eliminates any 5 Iron similarities and sets the band apart.
"Rocketown," a cover of a Michael W. Smith/Wayne Kirkpatrick tune, was done in horn-less FIF style. The album ends with "Moon Burns Bright," "Two-Twenty-Nine," and "Gloria," three ballads/rock ballads that stand out as creating a different and new sound for the 5 Iron trio.
So Far From Home is moody, passionate, and darker than the members' previous material. A unique project from a unique group of guys and an album to surely check out this summer.- Review date: 6/5/00, written by John DiBiase
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