Band of the Week

Shadow Saints

Meet the Band: Chris Carmichael (vocals, synthesizers), James Young (vocals, synthesizers), Rob Armstrong (bass), Mark Shivey (drums)

Timing is Everything: The group got together in 2009 after Chris Carmichael and friend James Young decided to join forces. The two had been writing songs and making records on their own, but they scrapped their respective solo projects to collaborate. "He wanted to make his project a much bigger production and he wanted to take it to another level," says Carmichael. "I had done some solo stuff, nothing really important. I had begun to write for a project that I hadn't put out yet. When he called, the timing was right. The more we talked and developed ideas, we agreed that coming together with a new project was going to be what we wanted to do."

Bass in Your Face: In the past year and a half, the synth-pop band started to take itself more seriously and recruited bassist Rob Armstrong from industrial rock act Filament 38. The band's show at the Phantasy this weekend marks its first with Armstrong. "Our music really needed a bassist," says Carmichael. "Live, it gives a whole new dimension because it gives depth to our sound and warms up the electronic sound. It gives a warmth to that electronic feel and ties into the classic '80s alternative, college radio we like and connects to Killing Joke and Depeche Mode."

The Demo Days: The band has only put out a four-song demo, and it came out three years ago. "There's only one song or two from that demo that we've kept in our repertoire," Carmichael says. "We dropped off that dance-y, electronic club music feel. There's still some of that element but that's not the main focus. It's a warmer sound and tempos are slowed down." The band is readying some 13 songs for a potential EP or full-length.

Why You Should Hear Them: Songs like the Depeche Mode-esque "Waiting for the Fall" and "Faded Flowers" feature lush synthesizer arrangements and suggest the band doesn't privilege sonic texture over melody. Simply put, these guys are great songwriters even if their sound is rooted in the past.

Where You Can Hear Them:

Where You Can See Them: Shadow Saints perform with Petals and Thorns, Man-009  and Red Moon at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 23 at The Phantasy. — Jeff Niesel

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About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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