I remember St. Christopher for a few handsomely crafted pop songs from the heyday of the late, great Sarah Records. They have ended up on the American version, Parasol, a few years later. Time hasn’t healed the wounds, and the music on this debut (I presume) LP is very reminiscent of the sentiments expressed on the obviously influential Bowie/Smiths/Suede.
The best aspects of St. Christopher• actually, one of the few memorable aspects of this record • is the brilliant guitar sound. The better attributes of Ride and Morrissey licks are captured here, but they are surprisingly fresh, energetic, and most importantly, soulful. Good uses of tremolo and overdrive without sounding typical are quite a triumph to pull off. But alas, there is a bunch of poopy-caca-doodoo of this release as well.
This vocalist sings so similarly to Brett Anderson, you can fool yourself into believing these are the demos from one of the over-produced, dribble-fest records of The London Suede. EVERY single vocal is mixed in heavy stereo reverb (sooooo high in the mix), and while that has provided fullness on many great pop recordings, it comes across as unimaginative, preset, and lazy. Or, maybe it was drugs.
This record will spin between Coldplay and Doves during the flavor-of-the-month hour at the local Brit-pop night. Pay attention• this band might kick their way into the shaggy haired circuit. After hearing this record, you might overhear the hipster’s acknowledgement that yes, indeed, the kids are all right. You might hear me say the kids are all bastards.
Parasol Records, 905 S. Lynn St., Urbana, IL 61801-5205, http://www.parasol.com.