It must be said, 2012 has unexpectedly turned out to be an applause-worthy year for new music and, hey, it’s only June! Yes, there have been some whiffers along the way but, all in all, we’re pretty pleased with the recent crop. A highlight in the summer’s release schedule is, without doubt, “Union”, the debut album from Saint Saviour, which follows in the footsteps of her sensationally good EPs, “Anatomy” and “Suukei”.
How Becky Jones has not gyrated her way into international mega stardom status yet is beyond our present comprehension capabilities. Suffice it to say, however, that her blend of clever song-writing, powerful voice and infallible stage presence (as witnessed at Lovebox, last week) should, before long, secure an ever-increasing audience for her songs.
Here, we give you an overview of her excellent debut, with track-by-track commentary.
“Mercy”: a sedate opener, layered with reverb-enriched harmonised vocals and backed by a morose piano. You can imagine Siobhan Donaghy doing something like this if she ever makes a sequel to Ghosts.
“Tightrope”: things pretty much stay on a sullen note with this one. When the beats come in, however, there’s a Portishead trip-hop feel to this track, which opened Jones’ Lovebox set. The hook, “You acted like you knew me and I knew you”, works beautifully with the soulful backing vocals.
“I Call This Home”: The single. We’ve already written about this track and our love for it has only increased since its release a few weeks ago. With hindsight-enabled spex, we view it as an odd choice for first single, seeing as nothing on the album quite matches its rockiness and, that being the case, it is not particularly representative of the rest of the record. But this doesn’t change the fact that it is a great, great track.
“Liberty”: Now, this song we can certainly see as a future single. Jones sings: “it’s a question for you, it’s a question for me, are we really free” on top of an electronic soundscape, which more closely resembles the style of “Anatomy” and “Suukei”. We’d love to see a lavish noir video for this.
“Fight”: Uh-oh, things slow down again but don’t let that put you off. This song poses a valid quandary: “what’s a life without a fight?” File this alongside Sia’s “Breathe Me”. Saint Saviour has described this as one of her favourites from the album and, whilst for us it is not as immediate as some of the other numbers, you can be assured that it is a grower.
“Reasons”: a golden oldie which has been included on the album due to popular demand and due to the fact that it is pretty much amazing. Mind you, we’re not doing very well on the bringing the tempo up front at this point. Oh, wait, here comes “This Ain’t No Hymn”.
“This Ain’t No Hymn”: if you’ll pardon the cut-and-paste-ness of it all, this is another a golden oldie which has been included on the album due to popular demand and due to the fact that it is pretty much amazing. Re-recorded for the album, it was – in its original version – the lead track on “Anatomy” and remains one of the most instant Saint Saviour offerings to date.
“Jennifer”: well, this is simply the most marvellous piece of bonkers since, erm… since the last iamamiwhoami single. In fact, it sounds so much like iamamiwhoami’s “U-2”, that we’d love for someone to do a mash-up of the two songs before the season is quite out, thanks.
“Domino”: where the most unlikely song ever to include a rap gets to include a rap and somehow make it work. Like “Liberty”, this is one of the tracks that is more reminiscent of Saint Saviour’s EP output. Definitely a favourite.
“The Rain Fall On The Just”: don’t be misled by the a capella intro, here. This song goes in a totally different direction to where you expect it to go. Yes, the intro suggests a “Kumbayah”-style ditty but this is, in fact, an 80s-tickled sing-along-er. At the time of writing, this is our most listened to track on “Union”. BRILLIANT.
“Dreamtime”: very Goldfrapp-when-they’re-quiet, this. Lovely, but doesn’t really go anywhere.
“Fallen Trees”: Saint Saviour’s “Someone Like You”. Not thematically, perhaps, but put it this way: if this song got the attention it deserves, you’d be sick of it by October/November time because every X-Factor contestant would be singing it at their auditions. Touching, depressing and altogether incredible.
“Horse”: things end on a – yes, you guessed it – quiet note. Stating the obvious here, but “Horse” would be ideal on the soundtrack to any future screen adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s “Equus”. We like this one a lot but we can’t help thinking that Saint Saviour’s curiously-left-off previous single, “Here In Me”, would have been a more exhilarating finale to this near-masterpiece of a record.
Our overall verdict: buy this. Buy this post haste.
- Doron Davidson-Vidavski