REVIEW: Hard to Be a Saint (single), by The Ark of Music

The Handshake Saints – a rock band out of Northwest Arkansas – have aptly defined their style as a “decidedly modern twist on a vintage sound“. This concise descriptor couldn’t be more accurate, as the group’s bright take on a familiar classic rock tone is all over their debut single, Hard to Be a Saint. 

The group formed in 2019, and consists of Aaron Mullins (piano), Roger Norman (drums), Phil Cristofaro (bass), and Josh Masten(guitar). Their influences are broad, ranging from Otis Redding to The Beatles to Tom Petty, but the resulting sound from this group is uniquely their own. Hard to Be a Saint is most prominently defined by a funky, bouncing bass rhythm, a distinctly 70’s guitar tone, the light but ever-driving percussion, and an impressive vocal performance that has a distinctly retro cadence. The track most certainly leans into the “vintage sound” that the band embraces, but the well-balanced production does bring a modern element into the song.