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The Saints : King Of The Sun

Chris Bailey has long deflected accusations of misleading, or even unconscionable conduct in using The Saints moniker in the continuing absence of Ed Kuepper. Certainly, the Bailey-only Saints appears a galaxy away from the proto-punk buzz saw attack of the one-time Kid Galahad And The Eternals. Yet, almost counter-intuitively, Bailey has carried on The Saints without diluting the band’s historical legacy, taking the band into territory of his own choosing.

 

King Of The Sun is the latest Saints record. With only minor exception, it’s Bailey in his finest whimsical folk-blues guise. The title track has a whiff of literary pretension, it's lyrics a set of seemingly non-sequitur statements built around a simple melody and Bailey’s disaffected vocals. Sweet Chariot is arguably the classic contemporary Saints style – a lumbering blues-based pop lick and an aesthetic that sits perfectly with Bailey’s modern day Lord Byron persona. Million Miles Away (La De Bloody Da) would, if attended to in a brutal punk manner, be one of the great garage rock tracks; here, it’s an intriguing acoustic track of surprising depth. 

 

On Mystified Bailey’s bass abilities come to the fore, Duty is replete with romantic beauty, Road To Oblivion takes a basic blues formula and infects with a slick pop sensibility and All That’s On My Mind could have been found in the All Fools Day archives. And then there’s the concluding opus Mini Mantra Part 1: Bailey embarks on a Stones trip and has a wild time.  Concertina guitar freak outs play out over a crescendo beat, while Bailey – ever the mad poet – leads the band on into the psychedelic rock abyss.

 

The record comes with a bonus disc of ‘songs from the stash’, including Just Like Fire Would, Ghost Ships and All Fools Day. It’s a useful reminder that there’s far more to The Saints than those classic first three records. Chris Bailey is idiosyncratic to say the least. But he’s kept The Saints alive.

 

BY PATRICK EMERY

 

Best Track: Sweet Chariot

If You Like This, You'll Like: um, THE SAINTS

In A Word: Surprising