Sauna is not a supergroup. Nope. According to my logic, a supergroup should consist of at least one member who has been in a band that could fill a stadium at some point in their career. Either that, or another member (or members) should be well known in their respective genre field. Failing all else, it should at least feature Eric Clapton. So, Derek and the Dominos? Supergroup. The Transplants? Hell yeah, supergroup. Temple of the Dog? In hindsight, a supergroup, but really just a nice tribute to a dead friend between very hungry, not-yet-famous friends.

Another general rule? Supergroups are trash: for-profit rock n’roll swinger parties that don’t last for more than an album-cycle. Sure, there are exceptions, but it’s a real needle-in-a-haystack situation.

So what is Sauna — made up of Mike LeRiche of Fake Palms, Braeden Craig of Greys and Zach Bines of Weaves — if not a supergroup? Based on their debut single “Over”, they are an exciting and sustainable trio, dabbling in synthed-out sonic territory that none of their other bands could pull off convincingly, certainly not with as much zeal. In this sense, Sauna sound incredibly modern, free from the shackles of the guitar and all its history.

“Over” starts small, with a sticky bass groove and a precise drum beat. It’s as if the rhythm section, with all their analog sensibilities, are imitating a digital version of themselves and the results are intoxicating. Once the chorus opens up, and the synths crash onto you like a rainbow waterfall, it’s clear that Sauna approach their music with a fresh vision. They aim for a high level of sonic integrity while still flirting, heavily, with an accessible sound. Traditionally, supergroups tend to be some fantasy of what could have been that decidedly wasn’t during the respective members’ heyday. Sauna do not feel like fantasy; they feel like the future.

Scott Orr
Worried Mind