Review: Saavik ‘Saavik’ EP

Whenever the term ‘supergroup’ is tossed around for an impending release, I always take pause because that label can serve as an asset and liability for the group in question; the term tows the line between giving an album a proper context and detracting from a new band’s independent identity.

Saavik 'Saavik' EP

Miami, Florida’s Saavik (Didi Aragon – Bass, Beatriz Monteavaro – Drums, Gavin Perry – Guitars, Ryan Rivas – Synths/Vocals) boasts such a ‘super’ resume, it’s members having been a part of distinguished acts like Floor, Holly Hunt and Cavity among others, yet earns its credibility, not through past accomplishments, but through the synthesis of collective musical experience – the result is a pretty compelling four song EP, able to stand on its own by the sheer weight of its immediate impact.

Heavily distorted bass pairs nicely with a drum kit akin to a pair of pulsating industrial automated sledgehammers; the rhythm section alone is enough to hold your attention through the EP’s twenty five minute running time. Stylistically, the band straddles doom, drone, industrial and psych with clean vocals tailored to the music’s overall ‘open sound’.

Rivas’ technique is less about aggression and more about dimensionality; his voice is another instrument to enhance an atmosphere that’s two parts doom, one part gothic. Even the melodic vocal line on Meld which serves as the track’s anchor could have easily fit on a 1990s era Cleopatra label release. Having been a fan of Switchblade Symphony and gothic influenced music in general in the mid late 90s, this is not a bad thing, and in this case, works well because Saavik distills the best elements from that genre – capitalizing on mood without the theatrics.

Heavily distorted bass pairs nicely with a drum kit akin to a pair of pulsating industrial automated sledgehammers…

Lyrically sparse with minimal overt riffing, the band emphasizes texture and emotion through its matching of simpler chord changes with synth and lead guitar lines. Opener He’s Dead Jim builds and culminates in a repetitive staccato of drums and guitar, with Rivas’ delivery like a meditative sermon, his audience unseen and separated by infinite space.

Horizon is similar in its framework, anchored by waves of droning melodic synth; it’s a deceptively simple blueprint that works because the right minds are present to execute.

Some have criticized bands (take Om, for example) for their lack of variation and adherence to ‘formula’ – in my opinion, they’re missing the point. It’s about introspection, mind expansion, and reaching that brainwave frequency on the cusp of sleep, where visions and ideas are lucid, vivid and powerful.

Saavik is certainly on the cusp of something great here, and a full length with the same momentum could easily break them through.

Label: Other Electricities
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Jeremy Moore