Album Review: Saint Agnes – “Welcome To Silvertown”
It’s safe to say that, for us at Pure Rawk at least, Welcome To Silvertown represents one of the most keenly awaited albums of 2019, and one of the most keenly awaited debut albums for a good few years. Ever since we first encountered Saint Agnes over half a decade ago, their profile has been growing slowly through a series of EPs and singles, with the sound slowly evolving and refining with each release, while the group’s always captivating presence in the live arena has gradually developed to the point where they’re one of the most exciting live bands in the capital today.
All of which, of course, would mean diddly squat if they’d blown their big opportunity here. But I’m happy to report that they haven’t. Welcome To Silvertown is everything you’d hoped it would be, seeing the group throwing all of their diverse influences into the melting pot and coming up with something pretty damn amazing from the moment the scuzzed-up Stooges style riff of the title track kicks this one into action. Move Like A Ghost sounds like early PJ Harvey crossed with the voodoo swamp rock of Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind, and it’s obvious at this point that we’re in for something pretty special here.
There’s a few tracks here that you’ll know from previous releases – the pounding tribal drums of Diablo Take Me Home, the haunting minimal I Feel Dangerous Around You, the scuzzy garage-rock indebted Death Or Glory Gang and the sinister epic Witching Hour have all featured on previous Saint Agnes releases, but it doesn’t make their presence here any less welcome – the latter remains probably the best thing this band have put their name to, and it marks the album’s halfway point in fine style.
The new stuff is just as good too – I Got A Drum is a downbeat lurking slice of melancholy which could almost be a sister track to I Feel Dangerous Around You, Black Horse sees guitarist Jon taking lead vocals during the verses for a sinister keyboard-driven slice of menace which kicks into an explosive chorus to move it up a gear, Why Do You Refuse To Die? has Kitty singing the intro almost a capella before it sparks into an ominous “soul for sale at the crossroads” slice of blues with Morricone style atmospherics over the top, powering through in a hailstorm of tribal drums, squalling guitar and howled vocals before the desolate acoustic lament of Heart Of Mine slows things down in time for the finish. And trust me, once you’ve got your breath back, you’ll be more than ready to cue this up for the first of many repeat listens.
Following on from this and the recent Wildhearts album, it's gonna take something pretty damn spectacular to get higher than third in the 2019 Album of the Year Award. Quite simply, "Welcome To Silvertown" is everything we hoped it would be and then some. A frenetic white knuckle ride which veers from goth to desert rock to psychedelia to garage punk without missing a step throughout, this really does mark Saint Agnes out as a band who are streets ahead of nearly all of the competition.