There are some voices that just grab you immediately and refuse to let go: Alex Saraceno has been gifted with one of those, a mix between Fiona Apple’s boundless leaps and Regina Spektor’s more idiosyncratic side, mixed with a certain firepower all her own. Within the first few minutes of Buried Men, her second full-length as Zanders, she’s already firmly established herself as a force to be reckoned with, whether whispering or belting at full power. “I stay wrapped up in layers to keep warm, even though I’m not a cold person/ It’s just poor circulation.” On the mounting vocal runs of “This One,” she punctuates: “I knew you/ I knew you were meant for me/ But now all that I share with you are memories.”
Saraceno turns open wounds into floating psalms; the music around her travels up and down like waves on a particularly choppy day. The piano-heavy arrangements are supported by bassist Kevin O’Donnell and drummer Jason Rule, who provide the songs with a stop-and-start movement that accentuates their jaunting bounce, which in turn give her bold, unwavering declarations the appropriate weight. “I’m the girl who’s not getting closure ’cause when you leaned in, I didn’t move closer,” she looks back on “For Granted, Pt II.” “Don’t beat yourself about us ‘cus I let you down,” she says as she twists the knife inward on “Grown Up Posterchild.” Her vocal flip-flops are the entry point of Buried Men, an accessible thoroughfare as she processes the pain of relationships failed and hopes deferred, but the swells around her are just as strong. Listen below.