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They know how to mix melodies with noise. They love synths and drum machines. They play loud guitars. They rock. They pop. They wave. Just as you might expect from a band that lists David Bowie, Suede, Jesus And The Mary Chain, T-Rex, Lords Of The New Church, The Cure and New Order as major influences.
They are the Saturnettes, a new indie pop quartet from Tampere, West-Finland. Jann (vocals, guitar, synths), Henrika (piano, vocals), Kaide (bass), and Robin (guitar) realise their musical vision with the help of drum machine Beat Pest whose analogue rhythms provide the perfect backing for a heady mix of catchy tunes, biting lyrics, sweet synths and gritty guitars. Their first single “Cadillac”, released in February 2011, gave a first and exciting taste of a band that is deeply rooted in the tradition of 70’s rock and 80’s wave but knows how to forge their retro leanings into a very contemporary sound.
The Saturnettes were founded in late 2010 by singer and songwriter Jann Wilde who started his musical career in 2004 with the self-produced EP “Boys Of New York”. Three albums followed – 2007 saw the release of Tokio Okei together with the band Rose Avenue, 2008 he released Neon City Rockers with The Neon Comets and finally came up with a solo album, Don’t Play With The Flame On Your Hand in 2010. While Tokio Okei was heavily influenced by new wave and punk, Neon City Rockers owed more to the glam sound of the 70’s, while Flame showed Jann’s more introspective side, combining powerful pop melodies with intricate acoustic ballads.
While still promoting his solo album in summer 2010, Jann started thinking about a side project as a platform for some noisier, rougher songs with a more electronic twist. The first member he recruited for the nascent Saturnettes was Beat Pest, his trusty old drum computer. Jann and Beat were soon joined by pianist and singer Henrika, known as songwriter, model and performer in her own right who had already sung a duet with Jann on Neon City Rockers.
Completing the line-up were two old friends from The Neon Comets: Multi-instrumentalist Kaide had formerly played with Goth band Varjo, fronted the Seven Stairs and already helped out Rose Avenue before becoming the Comets keyboarder. Guitarist Robin, whom Jann discovered through an internet ad in 2007, had an extremely versatile and melodic style that became a key element of the
emotional and energetic sound of the Neon Comets.
In early 2011, the Saturnettes started rehearsing. Jann remained the main creative force but encouraged his band mates to take a bigger part in the songwriting and singing. During the next six months, they played their first gigs in the Tampere area, and they forged the new Saturnettes sound, characterised by great pop sensibility, soaring melodies and abrasive hooks, honed by true indie spirit and DIY attitude.
Their debut The Saturnettes, due for release in September 2011 on Yläkulo Tuotanto / The Velvet Beat, features straight, stomping rock songs like “Cadillac” or “Too Many Cocktails” alongside playful classic pop tunes like “Oh Girl”, the incredibly catchy “Lavatories” or the dark, throbbing, enigmatic “Dietrich”. Henrika adds some irresistible lead vocals to the flawless synthpop of “Girl Named Sue”. Kaide supplies a melodic and elaborate backbone to the overall sound, both with his bass and his bright, strong backing vocals. Robin proves to be just as good at dirty riffs as he is with flowing, sensitive lead solos that provide melancholic, atmospheric songs like “Dunkelbunt” with their depth and brilliance. And Jann stays true to his characteristic singing, sounding naïve and cunning, passionate and cool at the same time.
Which is what the Saturnettes are all about: blending the passion of rock with the coolness of new wave. Raw and fresh and catchy.