Wednesday 15 August 2012

Saint Saviour - Union

Album review by KevW

Chances are Becky Jones will have stealthy crept into your life already. She was lead singer with electro act The RGBs and, more recognisably, the voice of Groove Armada for a while and has also toured with Hurts. So fundamentally Saint Saviour has hovered around the accessible end of the electro-pop spectrum for some years, and has now stepped out with her debut solo album 'Union'. If you're strictly indie/alternative/rock then this is a record to pass on altogether. Here Saint Saviour is aiming for classy, upmarket pop. If Jessie J is Lidl then Saint Saviour is Marks & Spencer, but that's not to completely write 'Union' off as dinner party music. It has its moments.

The big problem is that Jones seems caught between two worlds: the ethereal dreampop that The Cocteau Twins mastered, and catchy as hell floor-fillers that will get the feet of even the darkest of all goths tapping. Her voice is strong enough to master both, although it maybe lacks the character or individuality of certain female pop titans. Yet it's all too clean. Elizabeth Fraser or Hope Sandoval wouldn't have lent their dreamy tones to tracks like 'Tightrope' or 'Dreamtime'. There are high energy anthems in 'I Call This Home' and 'Jennifer' but they're a little too grown-up to set the clubs alight, which really makes 'Union' one for the trendy middle classes who are determined to remain in touch.

If this all sounds a little disparaging then maybe a slight disservice is being done. There really are some good tracks on this album, yet they need to be better defined and Jones needs to decide whether she wants to be the next Dido or the next Donna Summer. Both are within her grasp and had these songs been produced for a different audience they really could shine. The done thing at the moment is to sling in a couple of Kate Bush comparisons, so the whimsy of 'Liberty' and 'Horse' have the potential to tick that box. 'Union' is a decent album, if a slightly too polished and anonymous one, and Saint Saviour could well have the music world at her feet, she just needs to decide what she wants to do with it.

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