Locals: Saintseneca

From the 08/25/2011 edition

"Everything's going to be completely novel."

Zac Little was talking about the West Coast tour his band Saintseneca embarked on last week, his first trip beyond the Mississippi River. But he might as well have been projecting the future of the soul-plumbing, floorboard-stomping folk quartet, whose original lineup will play its final show this Wednesday at Wild Goose Creative.

That the concert doubles as the release party for Saintseneca's first full-length album, "Last," is some sweet symmetry. It's not lost on the band; they approached the career-spanning "Last" as one part handshake, one part wave goodbye.

"We could have made a record of all new songs. We have the material," Little said. "But this sort of felt like it should be a thesis of sorts on our work for the past four years. So it made sense for it to be something that encompasses all of that."

Newly married multi-instrumentalist Luke Smith is scaling back his involvement and violinist Grace Chang is moving to New York the day after the show to pursue a career in fashion, leaving Saintseneca to evolve in new directions with new personnel. The changing of seasons is one reason they opted to name their first album "Last."

"I like the ambiguity of that word, like the sense that it's 'end' or 'endure,'" Little said.

Recorded with Eric Cronstein at The Tone Shoppe and released by fledgling Portland label Mama Bird Recordings, "Last" captures all the signature aspects of Saintseneca - strumming and stomping, deep thought and impulsive passion, hushed ballads and lung-busting choral catharses.

There's no telling which shape Saintseneca will take next, but this was one worth preserving for posterity.

"I'll probably cry at the release show," Little said. "You can mope, or you can see it as an opportunity."