(I’m) Stranded by the Saints – not many better LPs from 1977 knocking about, not many better punk LPs ever made in my humble opinion. I picked this up in 1992 because I’d heard time and time again how great it was and because, judging by the awful cover, this was a band who had never bothered learning to pose. In fact when they moved from their native Brisbane to London this proved to be their undoing in those image conscious times, they refused to wear their punk uniform like a good little band. They always struck me more as a rock-punk band than a punk-rock one anyway.
The sheer cacophony contained in these grooves is jaw-dropping, especially in the likes of ‘Wild About You’, ‘Nights in Venice’ and, my favourite ‘Erotic Neurotic’. The latter is amazing, lyrically it’s a rip of the Stones ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ but takes their unruly noise and cranks it up a further notch, spiralling up and up to reach the countdown (above) over an absolutely inspirational storm of noise; if it doesn’t make you play air guitar/air sing then you’re cold-blooded. The Saints sound has a direct lineage of the Stones/Who but played at a savage speed with absolutely no fripperies at all. It’s a simple enough formula, but when you pull it off this well it’s simply irresistible.
There are a couple changes of pace, the rather tuneful and slightly more polished, but no less speedy, ‘(I’m) Stranded’* and my other favourite on the LP, ‘Messin With the Kid’ which is a slow, almost bluesy, off-key number – sounds like a bit of a distant cousin to, of all things, The Black Crowes ‘She Talks to Angels’. It really is another great track. ‘Story of Love’ on the second side also slows things down again, but to less effect. Also deserving of an honourary mention is their cover of ‘Kissin’ Cousins’, which rocks hard enough to show how good the original was, but is still sarcastic enough to distance the band from the sentiment of it.
I’ve heard their other LPs and they have some good tracks on them, but nothing to match this in sheer bloody-minded intensity…
Except my beloved 12″ of This Perfect Day, which is (reaches for superlative overdrive) rather good indeed. The A-side is the best thing the Saints recorded full-stop and their iconic performance of it on Top of The Pops (that’s definately a Gibson SG I can see there, always a damn good sign in Australian hands!) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0B95FjppEs ) just burns. Call me cynical but there may be a bit of sarcasm going on here:
We got no high times always flat
If you go out you don’t come back
It’s all so funny I can’t laugh
‘Do The Robot’ on the B-side is rather spiffing too, a great slab of 77 style punk, with the acapella intro ‘Hey everybody listen to Chris / There’s a brand new dance and it goes like this’. I’m really not worthy enough of listening to this.
Apparently the Saints toured with AC/DC in 1976. Wow. That really would be a destination for the 1537 time machine, sod the fall of Rome, or the Beatles last gig or wtaching Martin Luther King Jr speak – I’m off to Oz !
*1537 bonus points deducted for unnecessary (use of) brackets in a song title.