Tuesday, October 19, 2010
THE SAINTE CATHERINES: FIRE WORKS
The Sainte Catherines
This is not the Sainte Catherines last heard on Dancing For Decadence. Frontman Hugo Mudie sounds like a broken man, singing about staying home, eating nachos, no friends and growing old (alone). Still, the music may have lost its fast, hard-rocking edge, but the heart-breaking feelings remain.
Opening track "We Used To Be In Love" sets the mood, kicking Fire Works off with a less riffy, more subdued and sombre mid-tempo sound that took a while to grow on me. But the more you listen, the catchier it gets.
"Better Like This" sounds more familiar. Still, the sound's washier, moodier. And out of nowhere, the solo kicks in on classical guitar-sounding nylon strings. Okay, biggest surprise so far...
Until "Chub-E & Hank III" goes a little hipster. And as far as new sounds go, Fire Works could have done without the indie hand claps. Still, when the song gets going, the irritation's negligible.
"So Long & Thanks For Nothing" (a jab at Fat Wreck, perhaps?) takes Sainte Catherines' moodier, slowed-down sound into massive, wall-of-noise territory. And Mudie's cutthroat Leatherface vocals wash perfectly with the band's regretful woh-oh-oh-ing.
"Back to the Basement That I Love" blends Sainte Catherines' alter-ego Yesterday's Ring's more country, knee-slapping harmonica sound with gentle folk-punk riffs. And musically, the song sounds nothing like Dancing For Decadence. Mudie's voice is the only giveaway.
It's been four years since Sainte Catherines put out a full length and things have changed. Fire Works bypasses the band's hard-hitting melodic-hardcore roots in favour of a more atmospheric, slower sound that's subtler and less urgent than I was expecting. The biggest change is the drumming - less tight, less frantic... It's the reflective sound of years on the road and the pain of mortality. It's a grower. And "Fuck Off Cancer!"
Click here to order Fire Works from Anchorless Records with an official Sainte Catherines hockey puck. Blame Canada...