Christian Peslak and Steve Marion are perfectly complementary. The two New Jersey natives have been making music together since high school, and nowadays they find themselves fronting the buzzed-about Saint Rich and touring with Dr. Dog. In the live setting, Peslak takes on the Mick Jagger role, strutting around the stage and bending his body to hit the high notes, while Marion serenely conjures up lead guitar licks that are both melodic and swaggering. Offstage, Marion turns into the showman while Peslak takes it all in; you’d think the two are brothers with the way they complete each other’s thoughts.
While still in their mid-twenties, the pair are practically music veterans. In 2011, Peslak and Marion released an album under the name Delicate Steve via David Byrne’s own record label. The record–all instrumental, with hints of tropicalia and African rhythms–received glowing praise from the New York Times and fellow bands like Dirty Projectors and tUnE-yArDs. A few years later, the two jammed on some new, more classic-rock inclined songs when other Delicate Steve members couldn’t make it to practice. Saint Rich was born, and last fall, they released their debut album, Beyond The Drone, via Merge Records.
Peslak and Marion make the musical switch seem easy. Saint Rich’s songs are just as intricate as Delicate Steve’s freeform jams, but there’s also a simple, power pop-influenced immediacy. The band recently stopped by KUTX’s Studio 1A to show off the new sound, and “Officer” was one of the highlights. Peslak directly taps back into his teenage years, wondering why the local police officer keeps hassling him for the (mostly) innocuous adventures he and his friends get into. It’s a big, wide grin of a song, funny and charming and hook-filled.
Catch Saint Rich at SXSW 2014:
Thursday, Mar 13: Parish, 8:45-9:25pm (official showcase)
Friday, Mar 14: Hotel Vegas, 7:50-8:20pm (official showcase)
Saturday, Mar 15: Homeslice Pizza, 3:30pm
Saturday, Mar 15: Spiderhouse Ballroom