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Reviews

Saint Saviour
In The Seams Mof Gimmers , October 23rd, 2014 11:55

Saint Saviour's 2011 release Union was a slept-on gem filled with comedowns, heel stomping pop and the considerable songwriting talents of Becky Jones. In the past, she's been favourably compared to Liz Fraser and Kate Bush, melding an experimental approach to her processes, yet mercifully, never losing sight of making accessible, enchanting music. Now, with her second LP, In The Seams, she's teamed up with Bill Ryder-Jones and the Manchester Camerata Orchestra and produced something that hangs so beautiful and heavy, that it'll crush you like a planet falling.

If there was a sense of dissatisfaction on Union, what with the songs occasionally sitting awkwardly together, that's dissipated now. For those that loved 'This Ain't No Hymn', you won't find such chest-beating pop here. 2014 finds Saint Saviour channelling the stillness of Goldfrapp's first album, the overwrought power of Scott Walker and the heavy heart of Sandy Denny.

Of course, Jones has always had it in her. The standout track from her first album, 'Fallen Trees' showed off how wonderful a song can be when cut through the filter of getting yourself to your feet through the doom of it all. With In The Seams she is fully committed to a rich, baroque, string-soaked body of songs which is as inviting as it is distant. Jones has made something incredibly personal. While many songwriters try and capture the magic of letting you into their private thoughts – and fail through insincerity - Saint Saviour is able to weave an entire universe above your head with songs of remembrance and forgiveness. There's a frailness to her approach that is hugely seductive. This isn't a pitying whine she's letting out, and nor has she had enough – there's a huge strength that propels each song forward, gently.

The heart may be broken, but it still beats hard. That said, this album isn't going to make you an emotional wreck (well, not entirely). Where 'Nobody Died' and 'Intro/Sorry' could easily see you gently weeping through your commute or while you're up too late with a crap bottle of wine, there's enough light too. Naturally, the light makes the shade even darker, but this is pop music and where would we be without melodrama?

On 'Sad Kid' we see the gentle swing of Donovan's 'Sunny Goodge Street', while 'I Remember' harks to the wonderful sparseness of Anne Briggs, with a creeping pastoral orchestration coming in on the blindside to swoon you into oblivion. 'Let It Go' (no, not that one) has the late night groove of The Band, but instead of evoking the Old West, she's falling, aching into the spires of old England, that Damon Albarn dreamt of at his most wistful.

Each song opens up slowly with her unique, brilliant, cinematic voice. Give this album time and an open heart, and you'll get an album that initially seems slate grey blooming into colour. In The Seams is Saint Saviour's best yet, and if she carries on like this, she could well become an artist far, far beyond the circles that adore her already. Her songs go from North Sea turbulent to letting your heartache melt in whisky, coupled with a sense of renewal or giving things another shot. Overarching this fabulous LP is a glimmer of hope, and yet, as we know, it's the hope that does you in.

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