In this day and age its hard to walk into any sort of public place without being barraged by some form of whiter-than-white indie pop, combining warped, distilled math rock guitars and anthemic U2-esque choruses. Saint Raymond has managed to adhere to all the conventional stereotypes which so many young bands feel the need to replicate. This record has the three key components of such a genre: hair cuts, jangly guitars and pointy shoes.
Saint Raymond is a signifier for the future of UK guitar bands; no attitude or awareness, content to making bubblegum anthems for pseudo-doomed youths. It is sickly and sweet, with well polished hooks and predictable chord progressions, the deformed love child of The Wombats and Bastille.
Recently the jewel of the Midlands has offered an interesting musical dichotomy. Acts such as Sleaford Mods and Jake Bugg have set the bar pretty high. With this release, Saint Raymond will not be cementing his place on the list of Nottingham’s musical greats.
However it is still rather impressive that Callum Burrows, at the tender age of 19, has managed to make such a glossy full length. Shimmering and glowing, this release is probably the most streamlined you will hear this year, although it is a shame it is so indifferent in its delivery.
Opening track ‘Letting Go’ sets the tone for the rest of the album. The stylised ’80s palm muting and anthem choruses seem to be regurgitated throughout every song, becoming less and less impressive as each progresses. It would not be hard to envisage title song ‘Young Blood’ soundtracking the wild marauding of teenage girls. With relatable lyrics and an easy going structure, this song has day time radio play written all over it.
The same marriage of textures and soundscapes accompanies every track with songs like ‘Don’t Fail Me Now’ and ‘Come Back’ morphing into the same entity. By the time ‘Wild Heart’ comes around it feels like like you have been listening to the same continuos piece of music, just with the occasional abrupt stops and polyphonic synth build-ups.
Saint Raymond does manage to break it down in places and this is where this release shines, making tracks such as ‘As We Are Now’ and ‘Carry Her Home’ the easy forerunners of the album. Although they don’t win any awards for creativity and intellectual discourse, the songs are honest and accessible, which is the basis for good song writing. It is a pity Burrows cannot take advantage of the resources at his disposal and combine that honesty with something more interesting.
Like many other young musicians, Burrows seems to be conflicted with making music for the sole purpose of creating art and for the promise of fame and fortune. Burrows may not be carving out a new genre for himself or releasing music that can be described as cutting edge but he has tapped into a style of music that recently has had a wild appeal amongst old and new music fans alike. Ultimately Saint Raymond’s debut LP is about capitalising on the interest of wistful indie pop rather than exploring a new musical plane.
Young Blood is out now via Asylum Records.