Saint Saviour's "Union"
- Article by: Jon O'Brien
- Posted: 07/26/2012
Anyone lucky enough to witness Groove Armada’s spell-binding festival sets just before they announced their retirement from the live scene will already be familiar with the talents of Saint Saviour, aka London-based singer-songwriter Becky Jones.
Recruited as the regular tour vocalist for their Black Light album, Jones’ astonishing range proved to be just as captivating as the duo’s stunning laser displays. Funded through the Pledge Music initiative, her debut album, Union, however, is about as far removed from the pair’s hedonistic electro as is possible.
Hymnal opener “Mercy” sets the solemn tone immediately as Jones’ ethereal vocals float over a lone piano before being joined by an equally mournful cello and the occasional burst of clattering percussion. It’s a brave statement of intent which is later echoed on the ice-cold melancholic balladry of “Fight” and the achingly fragile closer, “Horse,” all of which suggest that the heart-breaking torch songs of Antony & The Johnsons are just as much an influence as the banshee-pop of Kate Bush that her music has often been compared to.
Thankfully, there are a few lighter moments to counteract the unremitting misery. “I Call This Home” and “Liberty” both begin with a sparse guitar hook reminiscent of The xx before venturing into the stadium pomp-rock territory of ‘80s Simple Minds & U2. The noirish “This Ain’t No Hymn” shows she hasn’t completely left her lush synth-pop roots behind, while the harp-led electronica of “Domino” even manages to shoehorn in an unlikely rap, courtesy of Amplify Dot.
Union is perhaps a little too avant-garde to truly capitalise on her recent high-profile, but it’s still a compelling, if occasionally a little bleak, introduction to Jones’ unique vision.