Two years on from the excellent ‘Ordinary Folks’ The New England band of troubadours return with another rich set of finely observed and buoyant songs. Following on from the last album's tales of struggle and love, identity and loss it's a worthy successor.
Written and recorded for the most part during the pandemic, Jeb Barry retains his keen eye for detail on tales of small-town America as highlighted in ‘Chevy Nova (That 70s song)’
Warm nights and a hurricane
She wasn’t lost but she made me wait
I kept hanging around her place, like a
Satellite in outer space
‘Angie’ in the speakers low sounded like a heart just broke
Windows down in the southern heat, radio rains a memory
Although when he sings “17 in the 70s wasn’t as cool as we thought it’d be”, it can be a little too close to the bone to some of us of a certain age!
At times there are distinct similarities to the early Wilco sound, with the vocal sounding like Jeff Tweedy. On songs such as the plaintive ‘Stop Breaking your Heart’ and the world-weary ‘Too low for Tupelo’ Jed’s cracked emotive tone really hits home.
There are other influences worn with pride here, Big Star, Jason Isabell, even a Little Springsteenesque philosophy thrown in.
Steve Earle, and even the melancholy storytelling of Townes Van Zantz have a resonance here too, and they all mesh to help form the Saints’ own unique sound.
The songs are simple, yet clever observations, production is kept clean and non-fussy, to give the lyrics the heft they deserve. Very much like it’s predecessor, it’s a slow build, but with songs of the quality of ‘Diane’, ‘Jenny Why?’, and ‘Exits’, with it’s downbeat note of resignation, and killer lines.
Alternating behind, home in New England and Nashville, The Pawn Shop Saints are very much a band on the rise.
‘Ride my Galaxy’ is a worthy addition to The Saint’s catalogue, and certainly worth the trip