The Saints All Times Through Paradise
It’s an age-old conundrum: which came 1st The Saints or The Ramones? It seems incongruous that either The Saints or The Ramones could have evolved independently of each other. Two isolated collectives of lunatics forming seminal rock n roll groups within months of each other thousands of miles apart. Isn’t that what they call synchronicity? Isn’t that what they call Punk Rock?
In 1976, when UK residents were still busily making up the rules for Punk Rock, new groups were forming quicker than milk turns to cheese if left out of the fridge overnight. “The Ramones” & “(I’m) Stranded” were the benchmarks these nascent scene-stealers used when appropriating their ‘sound’. The template was simple: energy, power & style over content. The message was somewhat less complicated: we don’t give a fuck.
“(I’m) Stranded” remains the ultimate statement in high-octane garage rock 28 years after its release. The authenticity of The Saints & their fellow southern hemisphere sparring partners, Radio Birdman, elevated Australian rock n roll from the doldrums whilst most UK punters were still queuing up for John Bonham drum solos. From it’s iconic cover shot featuring the group slouching against a graffiti-ed wall in a dilapidated building to the frantic end of closing track, “Nights In Venice”, “(I’m) Stranded” pokes two fingers in your eyes & jiggles them about a bit until you cry.
By the time The Saints arrived in the UK & the waiting arms of Harvest Records in 1977 they were already somewhat at odds with the UK scene’s main protagonists. They plain didn’t get what all the fuss was about - & deliberately began to move their music away from what they soon began to regard as a formula.
The 2cnd Saints LP, “Eternally Yours”, was a marked departure for the group. The energy got more controlled, the lyrics got more cynical & threatening - & the guitars got painted in solid soul brass. “Know Your Product” & “This Perfect Day” were the gems of the collection. The Saints had moved the goalposts & sections of the crowd had begun to move with them. The more disillusioned The Saints became with UK Punk the quicker they distanced themselves from the phenomenon.
The Saints 3rd & final LP, “Prehistoric Sounds”, was recorded with the group already under some pressure. Internal differences & a longing for Australia were taking their toll on The Saints. “Prehistoric Sounds” was released to a muted response The Saints credibility had been affected by their abject refusal to jump through Punk rings of fire for the circus master. Ed Kuepper was the first to jump ship with the remainder falling apart by the end of 1978. It was the beginning of a period of animosity between Baily & Kuepper that would last the best part of the next 25 years.
A new 4 CD boxset - The Saints “All Times Through Paradise” (EMI) collects every recording made by the group between 1976 & 1978. It includes all 3 LPs, a whole host of unreleased recordings, a complete live set from London in 1977 & extensive sleeve-notes & unseen photographs & memorabilia.
“All Times Through Paradise” is all The Saints you could ever need - & more. The perfect document of the perfect garage rock n roll group.
This perfect day!
Jean Encoule tMx 16 08/04