Not long after the release of their last EP, Young Fools, in October of 2018, Portland indie synthpop duo Small Million returned on Friday, July 19, with the release of their latest single, “Saintly.” Though darker than the pair’s previous releases, “Saintly” is a deep pop song packed full of rich synth, pretty harmonies and musings on the idea that salvation doesn’t come from a lover.
“Saintly” opens with a dark timbre and low, resonant synth, but vocalist Malachi Graham contrasts the heaviness with light (yet powerful) vocals. Her smooth, metallic-tinged vocals and gorgeous harmonies shine in enthralling, melodic hooks and image-laden lyrics; though the production of the track is pristine and smooth, the layering of lighter vocals over that rich synth melody creates a hypnotizing texture.
The track’s rhythm is steady during the verse, but as Graham transitions into the chorus with a series of high vocalizations, the drumbeat builds and creates a tension that then releases as Graham sings about the essence of the track in the chorus: “I love you, but I know/That it won’t save me/Mercy is letting you go/So damn saintly.”
Graham’s detailed lyrics are, after all, a characteristic trait of Small Million’s previous work, and this song is no different. The hurt in her vocals is tangible as she croons, “I wanna ask how you’ve been sleeping/But instead, I just stare at the ceiling/I wanna tell you how I lost my voice/This prayer won’t leave my throat,” in the pre-chorus, and Graham paints pictures of equally vivid scenes in each verse.
All of these factors – the effortlessly clean production, the pretty harmonies and strong vocals, the irresistible synth melodies – combine to create a near-perfect song; “Saintly” is yet another in a long line of stunning indie synthpop tracks from Small Million. Though it maintains the duo’s characteristically beautiful harmonies and poppy melodies, its darker twist contributes a touch of mystique to their discography.
“Saintly” is a stunning addition to Small Million’s history, and it only promises good things to come. Check out “Small Million” on all streaming platforms, and stream and purchase the track via Bandcamp below.