“It’s a Motor City love/In a New York City world/And I’m Detroit dirty/I’m Motor City love.” The lyrics are a good few clicks shy of genius. Still, when slurred over some Night Train rowdy guitar, it at least has some fist-raising staying power. Unfortunately, it’s one of the few times Saturnine Hello musters anything memorable on this eager, yet stylistically confused five-song debut. The Toledo trio seems to desire the hard rock-with-silky-scarves angle, where things are gritted up enough (see “Love”) but still able to preen. (Vocalist-guitarist Robby 9’s Ronnie Wood haircut, mascara and zebra stripes combo only solidifies this.) It’s disappointing then that “Zoom” and “Babies Raised on Marshmallows” are nowhere near strong enough to continue what “Love” and the predictable but solid “Cosmic Whores” started. It’s especially disappointing when the finale, “Joining You,” cues up, and suddenly Saturnine has morphed into a late ’80s British guitar band a la Birdland. “Joining You” is nice, but it might also point to one of Saturnine Hello’s earlier sonic incarnations. The title cut and its silken, stomping swagger is clearly where they’re headed. It’s just that in the meantime, they’re closer to White Light Motorcade than DGeneration.
Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.