Melbourne indie-pop collective Saskwatch have dropped their highly anticipated fourth album Manual Override and it has us dreaming of balmy summer nights ahead.
Having downsized from nine to six members, the band’s eclectic sound has only expanded to fill the gaps. Dancing a very blurry line between pop, soul, psych and surf-rock, Saskwatch blend warm bass, bright piano, jangly guitars, brass and flutes in a way that feels completely natural. Across the album’s 11 tracks, the kaleidoscope of influences remains fresh and wistful, as heartbreaking lyrics and sweet melodies are held together by singer Nkechi Anele’s glossy voice.
Manual Override opens with a double delight of blissful singles ‘December Nights‘ and ‘Then There’s You‘. The first is a psych track full of delicious punch, packed out with chunky guitars, fuzzy bass, cinematic strings and harp and a catchy flute hook. Followed up by the summery low-fi treat that is ‘Then There’s You’, it’s easy to think that Saskwatch have pushed all their biggest tracks to the front. Thankfully that’s not the case.
Every track is a surprising combination of all the magical elements that make up Saskwatch. ‘Fortress‘ shows off Anele’s vulnerable and angelic voice over an emotive combination of fingerpicked guitar and soaring strings. ‘Shrinking Violet‘ kicks off with a pounding beat, fierce guitar and quirky sound effects. ‘Heaven Seems So Far Away‘ is a reflective tear-jerker that explodes into a final minute of massive distorted release.
With Manual Override, Saskwatch have not shrunk but grown into their own unique, fully realised sound. It’s hard to pin down exactly what that sound is, but that just makes re-listening a necessity.
Words by Hayley Franklin.