Life at 33 1/3: Viva Australia

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The Saints, Prehistoric Sounds (Harvest)

*From the vault of Carl Meyer, an original album review written in November 1978.*

The Saints’ third LP is an interesting and impressive experiment.  The Australian group combines British new wave, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed and 60s rhythm & blues and soul – and dare I say it, jazz.  The basic core of drums, bass and sizzling guitar chords give the songs a magnificant punch.  They are relentless and ustoppable, without going head over heels.  These guys are in control, they know how to hold back.

They also know how to surprise, and surprise they do, incorporating a full brass section on most of the tracks.  A bold move, and a succesfull one too, as the horns add to the punch and inject a freshness in the overall sound that is most welcome.  They don’t overdo the use of brass either, at times it stays in the background like metallic whispers, but thundering forward when required, as in Otis Redding’s “Security”.

Chris Bailey has the perfect voice for the music’s hypnotic intensity, he bleats, spitting the words out with a rotten edginess that strongly resembles Iggy Pop.  “Swing For The Crime” and “Crazy Googenheimer Blues” could have been included on Iggy’s “Lust For Life”-album.  Bailey rarely strays off his path, a pity maybe, cause he reveals explosive abilities in his razor-sharp take on Aretha Franklin’s “Save Me”, one of the album’s highlights.  She stole it from Them’s “Gloria”.  Bailey steals it right back.

If this isn’t the album of the year, it’s definitely in the Top 10.

Released: October 1978

Produced by: Chris Bailey and Ed Kuepper

Contents: Swing for the Crime/All Times Through Paradise/Everyday’s a Holiday, Every Night’s a Party/Brisbane (Security City)/Church of Indifference/Crazy Googenheimer Blues/Everything’s Fine/The Prisoner/Security/This Time/Take This Heart of Mine/Chameleon/Save Me

Personnel:

Chris Bailey – Vocals, Composer, Producer

Ed Kuepper – Guitar, Composer, Producer

Ivor Hay – Drums

Algy Ward – Bass

Martin Bruce – Trumpet

Martin Drover – Trumpet

Paul Nieman – Trombone

Roger Cawkwell – All saxes piano & horn arrangements