Union is indeed a tower of Babel undertaking, featuring 15 tracks and a myriad of instruments with orchestra qualities, contributing to the noteworthy depth of the album.
Saint Saviour – Union (2012) 7.0/10
There is something of a psychedelic musical messiah in the English singer-songwriter Becky Jones, as she strides over the Atlantic and the Channel alike bearing the polysemous stage-name Saint Saviour and neon lit garb. You might have recognized that powerful voice, ringing out way up high and bringing in the chorus way down low, from Becky’s feats as the front man of yet another musical deity of the isles, Groove Armada. In her solo debut Union, Becky preserved the combative quality contained in the name of her last band and translated it into music performing an uncanny leap in time, bridging the early 90s with today’s visual fluo-kids era – however this bridge might be more of the Tacoma Narrows kind than a Golden Gate. The LP is indeed a tower of Babel undertaking, featuring 15 tracks and a myriad of instruments with orchestra qualities, contributing to the noteworthy depth of the album. However, and paradoxically so, it may actually be Becky’s trademark vocals that keep Union from leaping into the 2010s musical scene: her remarkable vibrato, high and anguished, harks back perhaps too strongly to female voices typical of the 90s such as The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan added to old school disco/techno echoes that slightly lack credibility regarding the current electro scene. This LP might finally bear a very appropriate title: Union is a polymorphous time-machine, simultaneously a mother ship of the turn of the century and a sentinel of the new decade – not so surprising coming from a timelessly named creator.
A few chapters of this solo manifesto stand out: playing the part of a musical genesis “I Call This Home” rings out like cracks of thunder before the full on blast of a storm. A lone striking guitar echoes through vast silence introducing a similarly striking lead voice which then both unite to create a vindictive musical couple, advancing head on to the place where U2 like battalions of drums break out in a fury and battles rage. Playing the part of the Old Testament, “This Ain’t no Hymn” is that track lost in a time warp between the 90s and today’s electro. The entrancing low pitched beat starts straightway, soon accompanied by very high pitched lead vocals making it hard for the track to build up any higher and explode as you might expect, all the more so as the speed of the rhythm harks back to that of old school techno more than the fluctuating kind of electro. A hurdle “Domino” manages to hop and skip over presenting itself as Saint Saviour’s New testament: maintaining her trademark echoing vocals and instrumental arrangements, the songwriter had the musical savvy to add a muscular rapped part – absolutely striking by how appropriate it is.