Pop music is often overlooked as a genre capable of bearing significant thematic weight. So when Zac Little of folk-rock band Saintseneca wanted to make a record about the nature of consciousness, he packaged it in the form of what he calls "easy to swallow pop song pills."
That record is Such Things, out Oct. 9 on Anti-, and its first single, premiering here, comes in the form of "Sleeper Hold," a jangly, buoyant foot-stomper of a philosophical missive. On it, Little (who sings and writes for the band) and co-lead singer Maryn Jones move away from the lower, more rock-oriented sound of last year's Dark Arc, and into upbeat anthems closely related to anything giddy pop-rock juggernaut The New Pornographers has done.
Of this song, Little says:
"Sleeper Hold" is a pop song about the physics of consciousness. What is a dream made of? What is the thingy-ness of thought? Where does the substance of perception converge with the perceived?
Those are big questions to tackle with a run time just over 2 1/2 minutes. Alongside all the pep, "Sleeper Hold" is fully realized and sophisticated and more than holds up under the weight of its own inquiry. Then again, pop always could handle heavier loads than it got credit for.