Taste of You
Taste of You is available at:
The album, Weather the Storm, is available at:
19th May, 2017
I have broken one of my reviewing rules…
and am returning to an act I have featured before – I am only taking new artists for the next few months. I had to make an exception because of the sheer quality of Saints Patience. I shall come to them in a bit but, before I do, wanted to look at a few different areas. The first relates to a Classic-Rock sound and mixing it with Funk; the next is the weight and relevance of London and its bands. Following that, I want to talk about how hard it is getting an album together (and sacrifices needed); addictive and effective songwriting and the importance of seeing bands live. To start with – and something I covered last time I reviewed the band – a look at mixing Classic-Rock sounds with sounds contemporary. By ‘Classic-Rock’, I don’t mean it is a mix of Chicago, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Boston. Not that there is anything wrong with those bands: my featured act takes whispers of those kind of bands but instills the essence of the genre into their music. We all get distinct views when certain genres are mentioned. To me, we need more acts that have contemporary flair but look back at the best Rock acts of the past. In the case of Saints Patience; the band are original and fresh but have the epic stadium-sized potential of the Rock greats. Classic-Rock is a genre that really interests me. A lot of modern Rock tries it best to evoke the brilliance of past sounds but falls a bit short. There are some great artists around but, when it comes to Rock, I feel there aren’t many bands that linger in the memory. Many are questioning whether Rock is dead and that is an interesting thing to raise. There are a few wonderful acts that have stunning tracks and a unique sound but, for the most part, we get a rather predictable and uninspiring fare. Even established artists like Royal Blood – in spite of the epic noise and stage presence – have very little to offer – when compared to their debut album.
What I love about Classic-Rock is how rare it is today. Maybe a few acts are trying it but, for the most part, Rock artists are putting Indie and Alternative sounds together. It is very modern and urgent but there is something missing. Saints Patience are unique in the sense they represent the spirit and flair of 1970s Rock (some 1980s in there) but have a funky edge. It is hard to keep the hips dormant when listening to one of their tracks. A rare blend that finds accessible and sing-along choruses – perfect for stadiums and those who like their music addictive – with sassy swivel and some spicy Funk workouts. The bass is taut and slithering whilst the drums power with potency and authority. The vocals are commanding and sensual whilst the guitars sting and explode with colour and fire. In a time where many artists are being accused of lacking longevity and anything new – bands like Saints Patience act as guidance. The band know people want something fresh and relatable. Many people do not want to investigate older music and are attached to everything current and new. Saints Patience play music that could feature on BBC Radio 1 – and youth-targeting stations – but they appeal to a range of tastes/generations. There is a touch of those legendary Rock acts – together with some cool-edged Funk. I know the band are fans of acts like Led Zeppelin (and Jimi Hendrix) so there is a bit of the ‘60s in there, too. Such a rich and varied blend from a band who has a passion for various types of music and the need to create something unexpected and long-lasting. You listen to an album like Weather the Storm and hear the best Classic-Rock sounds together with brilliant Funk and modern Alternative. Whilst we struggle to find great Rock bands that provide something original and exciting; a band like Saints Patient are a solid and dependable option.
I always talk about London and how strong its music scene is. That is not going to change because, with artists like Saints Patience around, the capital is showing its diversity and strength. I know the band live in different parts of the country but they come together and gig in London. Right now, there is a lot of focus on London – following Grenfell and other events – and there is a sense of expectation on musicians. Not that music has to fill a gap or offer hope: many want to embrace great sounds and find solace and comfort in music. London is at the centre of things and is the beating heart of this country’s music industry. There are so many different bands playing around London – all with their own style and agenda. Why I want to focus on London is because of the sheer quality I am hearing. This applies to other parts of the U.K. but, to my ears, there is nowhere stronger than London right now. It is not only bands impressing but duos, solo artists and trios. I am exciting seeing how the rest of this year plays out but, already, I am discovering new artists who have the potential to last for a long time. Saints Patience are among them and take inspiration from the capital. Having seen the guys play – more on that later – I can attest what a reception they get from people in London and how at-home they seem here. That is another reason London is such an attractive proposition: so many various-sized venues for artists to play in. I think there is a school of thought that considers London a rough and stressful place to make a career in. In terms of ‘regular’ jobs, that might be the case but, when speaking of music, I feel life is a bit easier. Of course, there are a lot of artists in London but there are more than enough spaces to accommodate. From charming pubs to arenas, one has a bounty on their doorstep. Saints Patience have played some of London’s best venues but I feel they deserve a lot more attention.
Weather the Storm was put together and played by Spencer and Mudibu. The band have a bassist and drummer – for live commitments – so they are capable of producing big band performances or something a bit more ‘intimate’. I know, from speaking with Spencer a while back, it can be challenging getting gigs but, in a way, I feel this is down to a lack of management. The band have to take care of every dimension of their work. They have a record label behind them but need that extra pair of hands when it comes to scouting for gigs. The band have the potential to carve up a large percentage of London’s venues so it is merely a case of finding the right person to further their career. As a duo and four-piece; there is a connection and solidity that goes right into the music. I hope the remainder of 2017 finds the band grab some great gigs in London because the city is thriving right now. I have argued the case for places like Manchester and Glasgow but I feel London is leading the pack right now. It brings me to a point about live gigs and the importance of seeing an act in the flesh. I have not been to many gigs – time and financial constraints – and it is always a regret. Not all bands/artists are great live but most are. It is where they have to earn their living so, as such, are motivated and determined. The last time I saw Saints Patience was last year and was amazed by their stage presence. The confidence and connection between the players was amazing. Mudibu up-front, swaggering and dancing about the stage; the cut and fire of the guitar; Amanda’s powerful and intense drumming – epic bass lines and liquid grooves. It all gelled so well and led to an unforgettable and much-talked-about gig.
Most of my time is spent reviewing things via music-sharing sites. It is the easiest way to do things but I spend a lot of time on a laptop. A lot of my exposure to music is digital so it is always refreshing getting out there and seeing an artist play. Not only are gigs a great way to discover new music but can provide new light and revelation. I had only heard Saints Patience through music-streaming sites so had certain knowledge of their sound. It was only when meeting them – and seeing them take to the stage – new nuances and qualities were revealed. It has, after the fact, made me more curious about live acts and the band themselves. Weather the Storm is an album that has a live sound and could have been taken from the stage. Having seen the band play live; I was excited to sit down with the album – and Taste of You especially – and see whether there was any difference between their live sound and recorded material. It only takes a few bars of the song to feel the raw energy and realness of their gigs. There is very little polish: one gets a direct hit of Saints Patience at their most uncomplicated and direct. Were I to encounter Saints Patience on the album and not see them live, I feel I’d be missing out on a great experience. Seeing artists in the flesh means you get a chance to connect with them and see how their music differs – compared to how it sounds on the record. It gives a full appreciation of music and provides a lot more to the passionate listener. In terms of Saints Patience, I have encountered a wonderful band on the stage and got to sit down and review their new music. I can see how their live experience and gigging has gone into the record. I reviewed Break of Dawn a while back and can see new elements and qualities come into their music. There is extra confidence and sounds; the album brims with invention and standout moments.
There are few enduring bands/artists who pen long-lasting songs that you carry around with you. I hear a lot of acts and like a song upon first listen – only to have it slip from the brain a few hours/days after the fact. It is not their fault – perhaps my attention span is short – because there are so many artists around. I feel it is becoming harder and harder to create something truly original. What we can learn from that is, perhaps, there needs to be some sort of limitation I guess? It might sound extraordinary limiting music and stopping people from recording. I suppose that is some form of communism but all I mean is encouraging our new artists to push themselves. There are so many generic and unspectacular artists around it makes it harder discovering genuinely brilliant ones. Maybe, a better alternative perhaps, we have to rely on our own tastes and expend more time discovering music. Many still rely on radio and sites like Spotify for their tunes. If we all take the effort to dig deeper; we will come across some new treasures and artists we hadn’t encountered before. I always maintain there should be a website where we can discover sounds bespoke to us – new recommendations based on our tastes. I know there are sites like Deezer – and others that employ algorithms that customise playlists – but we can do better. I would like to see something that pulls together the best radio stations out there and filters their finest tunes into a playlist. The same way YouTube remembers the songs I like – and recommends others on that basis – collating the best of the best, as it were. That way, the listener would get quality and consistency – they would have recommendations and guidance when it comes to new acts. At the moment, we are flooded by the Internet, social media and radio. It is challenging sifting through it all and picking out the gold. I feel music would be stronger and more rewarding if we had a way of organise the best acts into one source – allowing our brain to switch off from the remainder.
Some would say it is impossible or foolhardy – all artists deserve a shot; quality is a subjective term – but I feel artists like Saints Patience deserve a lot more fans than they have. They have few equals when it comes to their showmanship, live performances and memorable songwriting. One need only listen to Taste of You to get an impression of what they are about. I have looked at the hip-moving Break of Dawn and know Weather the Storm is rammed with quality tunes. The guys have a knack for taking the funkiest jams and lacing them around rock-solid jams. In terms of music, the compositions are rich, invigorating and nuanced. The vocals, from Mudibu, are always electric and striking; the guitar work from Spencer consistently strong and exhilarating. Throw those songs into the live arena, and the fall band are capable of whipping up a frenzy. When I hosted the guys at The Finsbury; so many people were struck, not only by the great performance, but the way the songs get straight into the brain. One is awed and in love straight away. There are not many artists you can say that about, I guess. It seems music should be a meritocracy but that is not what’s happening. There is still that imbalance that means the best out there have to work harder than those who get a commercial/label hand. Saints Patience have Lost in the Manor helping them and pushing their music but one feels they deserve a rite-of-passage to the biggest gigs and venues around. I hope that will happen soon enough but there needs to be an easier way for our finest musicians to get the credit they deserve. Weather the Storm is an album that will go a long way to creating a dialogue – one of the strongest I have heard in a long time, for sure.
Before I come to look at the song in question; I want to talk about Saints Patience and how their album came together. I spoke with Spencer a while ago and got an insight into how a record comes together. He explained how the band – or him and Mudibu – were piecing together songs gradually and it was a case of finding time and money to put the songs together. They had songs formulated and ready but it was a case of waiting until they could afford to get into the studio. Well, in fact, the songs were home-recorded and put together in a very modest space. Many of us assume bands/acts go into a glitzy studio and, if a song sounds polished and professional, it must have been put together by high-paid producers in a luxury space. That might be the case with a lot of professionals and mainstream artists but it is a different reality for new artists. They do not have the cash to go into those spaces so, quite often, have to find more pragmatic alternatives. Live dates are the main source of revenue for most artists so, depending on how many gigs they play, often determines the sort of toys they have to play with for an album. A band like Saints Patience relies on solid songwriting and effusive performances but, like every act, they need to get the quality up there. That does not only rely on time but technology and equipment. In the case of Saints Patience, they had recording equipment but it was not money that was the main consideration but energy and time. I know Spencer was tirelessly working through mixes and spending all hours putting songs together. I can only imagine the work effort needed to get things together but it would have been a case of working on each song and seeing it through to the end. There were no shortcuts and raft of producers getting it all sounds perfect. The guys would have shouldered that and had to take care of every component.
Even if you are in love with the material being produced, the sacrifices associated with putting it all together can be brutal. I am not saying every album experience is like that but, in this modern age, it can be tough. There are long hours – often going deep into the night – and a lot of compromises. An artist might need to take a second job – in addition to finding time between jobs to record music – and push the limits of their homes/limited record equipment. So long as the passion and focus is strong, it can override these logistical challenges but I understand how draining it can be for artists. Saints Patience’s Spencer and Mudibu hunkered down and laboured hard. A few of the songs had already been performed live – Break of Dawn released a single – so it was a case of getting those existing songs down on tape and making sure the new material sounded great. Taste of You is a terrific example of what Saints Patience are about and how good their music is. I am glad the album is together but realise how difficult and time-consuming it was. That should not put off new artists but act as a reminder of the hurdles associated. The rewards, for most, outweigh the negatives: music is something that demands a lot of commitment and a realistic sense of turnaround. Of course, Saints Patience are not fresh out the blocks and expect it to be a few years until they start making it big. The thing is, they have music so fresh and impressive it deserves that sort of exposure right now. Weather the Storm is their mandate and business plan – let’s hope it finds willing investors and a hungry audience.
Taste of You wastes no time in getting involved and building up the momentum. There are finger-clicks and synths. working together to create something late-night and curious. Like someone on the prowl for excitement and activity; the song searches and explores the land. The beats are tense and tight: contrasting the swaying and swaggering nature of the electronics. Before long, the mood and noise heightens into an audio burst. Mudibu’s voice, oddly, has flecks of Paul Weller when coming to the microphone. One hears embers of The Modfather in places which is quite pleasing. Of course, his natural accent and tones come through but there is that underlying Punk/Rock sounds. Taste of You is funky and head-nodding throughout and, in a way, has Disco flavours to it. The hero likes the taste of the heroine and, from the off, has the chest pumping and heart on the sleeve. It is a confident and compelling opening that ensures the listener is excited and curious. We are “innocent”, as the hero explains. There is no one else around and being together is the way to be. One or two of the words are lost in the mix – the percussion and electronics do get intrusive at times – so you cannot piece things together as quickly as hoped. Not that this is ever an issue. What one gains from the initial seconds is a complete and busy song that vibrates, dances and races into the mind. The intentions are clear and earnest: our man wants his girl close to him. Maybe there have been obstacles that meant they could not be together. Finally, that moment has arrived and it is important not a second is wasted.
That need to seize the day and get surrender to the moment comes through in a determined and stunning vocal. There are wordless vocals that add a choral effect and the beats – machine-fed and compacted – are perfect for the song. Something more agile and natural might not give the song the urgency and singularity it needs. Taste of You is about getting with the girl and having that opportunity. As such, the beats need to reflect a tense heartbeat, sense of sweat and physicality. We get that coming through. The composition projects so many different emotions, possibilities and visions. It is exciting and surging but has complexity and colour. The girl is the ecstasy and inspiration. Our hero wants her close to him forever. I am not sure the background of the song – whether Mudibu sources from his own experiences – but one can hear how meaningful this song is. Every word explodes off the page in a storm of passion, sweat and desire. There is that yearning to not let the girl go. He wants the woman and needs everything from her – not only sex and commitment but her thoughts, feeling and emotions. Our man is committed and in this for the long-run. There is history, I feel, and some bad days. Now, things cannot go the same way and this bond cannot be broken. By the time the verse comes down, and we are in the midst of that catchy and compelling wordlessness, there is a wave of Funk and excitement. Your head and toes are united and the song takes over. Few songs have the potential to make that big an impact the first time you hear it. The heroine is lying next to her man – he likes the shape of her – and there is that impression of afterglow and pride. Mudibu is backed by an arsenal of sonic wingmanship and evocativeness. There are howling, echoed electronics and those teasing beats. It is a perfect backdrop for his words of affection and dedicated. A lot of lovers are not loyal and that honest, but here, one hears a man in the throes of love.
In a sense, Weather the Storm has a conceptual arc running through it. Break of Dawn opens and it is a track that demands dancing and consistent boogying. Awaken and Control arrives shortly after and projects something more introspective and investigative. Tongue Tied and What Makes You Free leads to You Came Along; Taste of You seems like the result of that filtration, build-up and expectation. In that context, one is relieved the lovers are together and the hero has that sense of satisfaction. He is not someone who is going to dispense with the girl once he’s had his fun. No. What we have is a man who is tired of the chase and wants to settle into something more solid. That chorus gets into the head and those vital messages reinforced. The hero does not want to waste a moment and is not letting anything fall to chance. In a way, I could imagine Michael Jackson tackling a song like this during his Bad/Dangerous days. The former album was a softer affair but had some tough moments. Dangerous was a harder and more physical album. Taste of You could have sat on either album – one can only imagine what the King of Pop would have done with the song. I am not sure whether Saints Patience are inspired by Jacko but Mudibu has that same sort of command and intrigue when he’s on the mic. Regardless of the history – another cheeky Jacko reference! – there is no debating how meaningful this moment is. One can picture (although, not too vividly) the lovers entwined and surrendering to their shared lust. Weather the Storm has so much variation and genre-mix. Here, we get an all-out Funk gem that demonstrates what a talent Spencer and Mudibu are. Spencer’s production, compositional input and guidance cannot be understated. He creates a mix that has choral, wordless vocals; sizzling electronics and some of the tightest beats south of the River. Tie that to one of Mudibu’s strongest and most assured vocals and it is a song that shows how good Saints Patience is.
The guys have played The Pack and Carriage very recently and seen Weather the Storm pick up some great reviews. It is encouraging the band has gigs lined up and a chance to get that material out to the crowds. I hope that continues through the summer. They are the type of group that can get the crowds moving and leave smiles on faces. As I said, my experience seeing them live remains with me still. I know many others have Saints Patience in their heart. The more the band perform and the greater number of gigs they get; it will compel and propel them to continue making music and taking their songs around that world. I can imagine them succeeding on a European tour and finding fans across America. Australia loves Funk and Rock so I would not rule that out. Great and eager artists deserve a lot of attention and opportunity. Maybe money and demand might limit their horizons – whether the audience is quite big enough to justify a jaunt over the waters – but that will change very soon. Before I close this, I will look ahead to Saints Patience’s future and some points I raised earlier. Spencer and Mudibu have laid the album down but Amanda and Ed join them on the stage. It is when they are all together; I think, they are at their strongest. Of course, they began as a duo so are used to that recording process but that is the great thing about Saints Patience – that duel-configuration means they are adaptable and not constrained in any way. Being such a powerhouse band, I would expect them to get gigs in London and play some new venues. It is a competitive and busy market but one that rewards the very best. I know there will be some trials along the way but the band can handle anything that comes their way. The music is so strong and captivating it is going to see them succeed and grow. What form that takes – international gigs or mainstream recognition – I am excited by the prospect of more music. Weather the Storm is a fantastic album; Taste of You a terrific example of what it is all about. Make sure you check the album out (on Spotify) and hear what all the hard work and graft has resulted in.
Maybe I should return to that last point and highlight how much effort was expended by Spencer and Mudibu when creating the album. They did not have deep pockets to facilitate their ambitions – only a determination to get the music sounding right. Long nights and endless days; that desire to hear their music played on radio stations and heard by the masses – that is what kept them going and alive. It may sound a bit Draconian and cruel but there was a lot of uplift and pleasure along the way. I would have liked the guys to have had that option to go into the studio and some of the burden lifted. Get the four-piece in a room and capture the same sort of sound I heard back at The Finsbury. Weather the Storm sounds sensational as it is but, I know, the guys would have liked the option to get their cohorts together. That is the reality of music today: it is so difficult putting stuff together inexpensively; you have to make hard choices and accept it will not be easy. Again, a bit grim but it is, as I said, the passion and love of music that gets artists through. London is a heaving and bubbling cauldron that is producing some of the world’s best music. Many will contend places like L.A. and Glasgow are better but I feel that is untrue. The capital has the greatest solo artists and finest bands: exciting and brilliant music that is more than a match for any other area. We have the best venues a really strong and together community. The spirit and buzz coming out of London is inspiring so many artists to move and settle themselves here. I know it is a crowded city but, for musicians, there is enough for everyone.
Not only does one have a cavalcade of venues at their feet but so many other acts around them. To me, London is the Mecca of the music industry. There are so many options for artists and the beating heart of the media resides here. If one wants to get under the microscope, there is no finer place to do so. I have a lot of love for cities like New York and Los Angeles but know there is nowhere quite like London. Saints Patience have that affection for London and getting gigs at some wonderful spots. Although they are among hundreds of other acts in the capital (thousands, possibly), they have a genuine gift for live performance. I mentioned how crucial it is to see bands/acts live – giving one a full understanding of what they are about and how their music translates – and can recommend a good night would be seeing Saints Patience play. I get invited to see artists play all the time and always have to turn people down. It is a shame but, being based just outside the city, it is tough finding the time and money to commute. In addition to making a full move to London – thus, affording myself the closeness and convenience – I want to detach more from the laptop and get myself out the in ether. That sociability and humanness one forsakes when being a journalist (well, me, at least) is hard to take. There are demands on one and it is not often practical to sack off an evening and see a band play. If you are in demand, you are expected to put the work effort in. I feel, however, it is always prudent to switch off one side of your brain now and then and give yourself a chance to recharge. Gigs are a wonderful way of meeting people and seeing a great act perform. Saints Patience are an incredible live act that has a loyal fan base but so much potential. The more gigs they get – and the more they can get out there – will determine how quickly they ascend to the mainstream. Performing is where their strengths lie and I know, first-hand, how affecting and memorable they are.
One of the reasons they are being heralded by reviewers and fans is the mix of sounds employed. On the one hand, they go back in time and source from the Classic-Rock annals. No specific band comes to mind: one gets a fusion of U.S. giants and the best of British. It is an intoxicating blast that is not nostalgic but current and relevant. They take that established and full genre and add their own spin to it. Classic-Rock is anthemic and suited for those who like their music epic and rousing. Seeing Mudibu sing and one gets touches of the great showmen of Rock. He has that flamboyance and physicality the likes of Freddie Mercury were synonymous with. That goes into the music and one hears a singer with flair and personality. On the other hand, Saints Patience takes touches of Funk and sprinkles that into the pot. Again, there is a balance of British and American. A lot of their music is designed to project optimism and hope. Break of Dawn urges people to dance until the sun comes up. Taste of You has some personal revelations but leaves a very pleasing aftertaste. It is a song that has the energy and spritz of their previous material but something romantic and subtle lingering. The band/duo are masterful when it comes to penning familiar and accessible songs that get the heart thumping, feet tapping and the voice singing. Not many can claim that so, because of that alone, they deserve huge kudos. I shall leave things now but it has been enjoyable discovering the latest (and best) work from Saints Patience. Even though I have broken one of my reviewing rules – assessing acts I have previously featured – I shall forgive myself this time. Taste of You is a song I HAD to look into: the finest cut (I feel) from Weather the Storm. Get involved with the album from a music force that will not remain a secret…
FOR much longer.
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