Saturday Looks Good To Me – Saturday Looks Good To Me

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist

There is a lot about Saturday Looks Good to Me that is confusing. First, this is not a real band, insofar as it is really Fred Thomas’s recording project, augmented by whatever group of friends and associates he has wrangled together. SLGTM has toured, but I do not believe the live cast of characters is standardized either. Equally disorienting is that, as a consequence of the haphazard lineup, there is no consistent lead singer. Whatever the merits of this approach, one drawback is that it is difficult to get a sense of the “band’s” identity. Also, their release history is a mess. Saturday Looks Good to Me was originally a nine-song, limited edition vinyl release in 2000. That was followed by Cruel August Moon in 2001, again with nine songs, this time on CD-R. Love Will Find You followed in 2002, possibly as a digital download only. They have issued a lot of singles, EPs, and CD-Rs.

What I Think of This Album

Motown for the indie set (albeit, a very white Motown), Saturday Looks Good to Me’s debut album gets by on melodies, production, and scruffy charm. All of those qualities would be amplified on later releases. There is a lot to like here, but you probably have to be predisposed to it. Sometimes the vocals are shaky and the lo-fi takes on Berry Gordy, Phil Spector, and occasionally Lee “Scratch” Perry, could throw some people off. If you keep a slightly open mind, though, you will be rewarded.

“Ambulance” sounds like weepy Motown/indie pop recorded underwater, ending in deconstructed echo. “I Could Cry” is pure girl-group, with a melody and rhythm to spare. “Ladder” is a male/female call-and-response duet with budget Spector sonics; the spoken word bridge against a saxophone backdrop is highly amusing. Heavenly by way of the Magnetic Fields is the touchstone for lullaby “Obstacle.”

A more robust Spector presentation is afforded to standout “Everyday,” which incorporates some stunning, mind-bending, dub-like production at the end. Sometimes, a certain section of the melody reminds me of “Do You Wanna Dance?” Thomas sings lead on ballad “I Would Find It So Beautiful,” a tear-soaked piece that really should have been a Jackie Wilson song. This gets a fuzzy instrumental reprise at the end.

Thomas continues warbling on “Bright Green Gloves,” perhaps the first appearance of his beloved “sink like a symphony” lyric, but Thomas’s vocal limitations are dwarfed by the melody and brass arrangement. Shades of the Magnetic Fields again, propelled by the specificity of the titular accessories. I’m not sure who sings on “No Point to Continue” but their everyman effort is similarly overshadowed by the baroque-indie-orchestral pop arrangement that SLGTM either threw together at the last minute or meticulously planned out (I can’t tell). 

The boomy, bassy “Don’t Try” is oddly compelling:  the cello, the spaghetti western whistling, Thomas’s unusually Danzig-esque intonation work together in a fashion that is equally unsettling and irresistible. The noise experiment ending only improves the song.

Even weaker tracks like “Car Crash” and “I Take a Chance Every Time” have something to recommend them.

The only real stumbles are the partially a capella “Last Night I Fell Asleep On Your Floor” (though the production does eventually get interesting), and the melodically stagnant, sing-songy “Think About Tomorrow.”

Among the 17 collaborators listed in the liner notes are Warn (sometimes spelled Warren) Defever of His Name Is Alive and Erika Hoffmann of Godzuki (and also, His Name Is Alive), as well as Elliott Bergman (Wild Belle), Chad Gilchrist (Outrageous Cherry, His Name Is Alive) and Zach Wallace (His Name Is Alive).

My version of this album is the 2002 iteration, which contains all of the original release but randomly peppers in three songs from Cruel August Moon and adds “Ambulance” and “Bright Green Glove,” whose origins are unclear to me.

Weirdness:  The liner notes say “Recorded 1976-2002,” and Thomas was born in 1976, so I am not sure what this means. Perhaps he threw in a recording of his infant speech somewhere in the mix?

The Best Thing About This Album

“Everyday” is amazing.

Release Date

2000 (original, vinyl only); 2002 (reissue)

The Cover Art

The layout decapitation is a little disturbing, but the aesthetic matches up well to the album’s sound. I don’t care for the white frame and the band’s name should be in a contrasting color. I like the blue in general, though.

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