Review: Mac Saturn’s album ‘Hard to Sell’

Album Review

By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa

Review: Mac Saturn’s album Hard to Sell – Release date January 26, 2024

Nick Barone-Mac Saturn-Photo by Chyrisse

Rock At Night has been following Mac Saturn around the country, covering their gigs, and featuring them in our magazine (print and online) since we met them in July 2021. Since then, they have opened for Black Crowes, toured with Dirty Honey and the Struts, and will embark on their first headline tour on January 26th. That evening will be a special one because it is a hometown gig at the Fillmore in Detroit and also the night of the release of their debut album Hard to Sell.  

Being familiar with most of their tunes, we were happy to see a selection of new songs in the 13-song album. Three songs are “live” and recorded during one of their Detroit gigs, most likely the June 2023 one we attended.  

Carson Macc-Mac Saturn-Photo by Chyrisse-

All of the songs on their EP Until the Money Runs Out are on Hard to Sell, except my favorite, “Persian Rugs.” It was the song that initially piqued my interest in the band in 2021, which, at the time, had just added Angelo Coppola on drums and moved Carson Macc up front as the lead singer.

As I told Macc during the band’s first official photoshoot, “Greta Van Fleet (GVF) evokes Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin so you guys need to emulate another classic rock band (which is a new trend).” Looking around at photos of the Stones, I said, “You need to be Mick Jagger. Be him. Don’t be afraid to ham it up for the camera or onstage. Be Mick. People want to be entertained. If they wanted to just listen to music, they’d turn on Spotify.”  

The band had an almost 60s garage rock, edgy sound in their early days. The song “Plain Clothes Gentleman” on the album embraces the Stones with Macc’s vocal delivery, song structure, and use of maracas. Think “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” 

Angelo Coppola-Mac Saturn-Photo by Chyrisse-

The very R&B “Mr. Cadillac” is gold, with its catchy disco bassline, chorus, and rhythm—an earworm I can’t shake. Similarly, “Ain’t Like You” draws you in with its pop sensibility. Please check out the acoustic version on YouTube, because it is a banger.  

Mac Saturn’s newer songs, now with an added member on keys, Evan Mercer, have more of a 70s soft rock or “yacht rock” sound. The guitarist Nick Barone often wore a yachtsman’s cap during the gigs.

“Mint Julep” has the 70s funk guitar riffs and almost a disco sound, with a catchy chorus, which features call & response from all the band members. “Young In Paradise” is heavily influenced by Nick Gilder’s ’78 hit “Hot Child In the City” with its familiar keyboard riff—and theme. When we heard it live last summer, I first thought they were playing a cover. 

Mike Moody-Mac Saturn-Photo by Chyrisse

“Junkie” has a very 70s pop feel, with hand-clapping and an upbeat tempo. “Boxcutter” (unusual title), “Sleep,” and “Let It Slide” are smooth R&B, 70s “yacht rock” style tunes. Similarly, “Get On the Phone” is a bit more disco.

The band has spent the last few years touring heavily around North America, winning new fans everywhere they go. Their live shows are fun, and yes, Macc IS Mick Jagger, and Barone is Keith Richards in the way they carry themselves. It will be interesting to see how the band evolves and hone in on their songwriting skills. We wish them the best!









Chyrisse Tabone, Ph.D.
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