Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Artist review: Dark Country (Saints single)

Saints -- "Dark Country" [single]
by Jeanie Straub

I should preface this review with the confession that I was already a HUGE fan of Saints, and that they are my favorite local band, as well as way up there on my national list. I am a Saints groupie. That said, this new single is absolutely my favorite Saints tune EVER. It is a techno dance tune that features an awesome bass line pulling it right along. It sounds very much like a hit. Says one of my co-workers, who is a huge music lover: "That's what a single should sound like. Everyone: Pay attention." The background on the band: Saints was started by two Scottish brothers, Rob and Lewi Gault, who had relocated to Denver. After Rob met Blaine Schult through a friend, Blaine became the third and final full time member of Saints in 2008. They started to play out in Denver and surrounding areas, eventually opening for bands like the Flobots, Chevelle and Smashing Pumpkins. They released Saints E.P. in 2009. The best description of their band at the time would be a local version of Brit Pop -- Denver but still a very slick-sounding European. This new single is a departure, with a deep and dark, almost evil-angelic sound that came after Rob was laid off from his day job. They explain: "After a short period of reflection, he started to write from a darker, more cynical place and the result was a new batch of songs that came not only with a healthy pinch of frustration and honesty but also wrapped in a new bigger yet more composed and controlled sound. Not the triumphant stadium guitar of the previous releases, but instead a more assured, cool and measured delivery." The new single has a great video to go along with it that overlays lead man Rob with a red background like Satan overlooking individual white game pieces -- the lyrics sound pretty black, if I didn’t mention that before. (The video was originally part of the Saints live set up featuring videos running in sync with the songs. They just overlaid Rob’s face. See: http://tinyurl.com/saintsvideodarkcountry to see it for yourself.) Finally, to answer one potential question: Is the sound of "Dark Country" kind of commercial? OK. Maybe. It has great energy, though.


Here are the lyrics for "Dark Country":

I found a gun in the sand in a hole in the road
and a man laying down where the story was told
he said he payed what he owed but it wasn't enough
a black shadow in the night stole the soul that he loved

I knew a girl back at home when I was a young man
she did a deal without the devil in the back of a van
she said "I wanna be rich, can you give it to me?"
he said "the money's in the bag I need your soul and your keys"

you better listen to my story 'cos I know it so well
I know your begging for relief because your living in hell
wear your heart carefully, show your maker respect
give me directions to the heavens when he come to collect

I was walking with my buddy by the side of the lake
he said "don't turn around" but I made the mistake
I spun around to defend, my buddy came to his end
said "keep your enemies close and be afraid of your friends"

I'm in this Dark Country now ...

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