ALBUM REVIEW: Saint Agnes – Vampire
Photo Credit: Scott Chalmers
Saint Agnes are a rock band from London who was going from strength to strength, or rather gig to gig as lockdown hit. So they had to change their plans a little. Kitty A. Austen and guitarist Jon James Tufnell chose to be locked down together, which is when they conjured up the Quarantine Diaries. Each week they would record a different cover version, two of which have ended up on this mini-album, Vampire.
It’s amazing what they achieved from their flat in East London, they even received praise from Nick Cave. After hearing the cover of Grinderman’s No Pussy Blues he gave the stamp of approval to their “chilling and superior” take on the song. No surprises here that it made the cut for this tracklist.
The mini-album also includes four original songs and physical copies also have the aptly named Psalms interludes. Biblically the Psalms are a way to rejoice in prayer, here they make way for rejoicing through music. Each of these particular psalms acts as an extension to the songs, greatly enhancing the overall creative piece that is Vampire.
Vampire starts with a fierce strength as Austen spits, “Revenge is justified,” with a kind of jubilance to her voice. The first song Repent makes use of guitars that shriek, a menacing riff and drums that hit hard. The song itself is designed to hit hard, with the rhetoric of holding the powers at be to accountability. Told within the story of a fallen angel, according to Saint Agnes, “the song is a blood-thirsty revenge fantasy about righting injustice.”
The next full song is the title-track and recent single release, Vampire. This song has a lighter feel despite still being fairly heavy, it will undoubtedly have a more popular reception as a result. It utilises fuzzy guitars, pulsating synths and distinct drums to go with catchy hooks. It could easily get stuck in even the most casual of listeners’ heads.
We hear a psalm and are then treated to the aforementioned cover version of No Pussy Blues, which is as great as we thought it would be, and Cave said it was. Just when you think nothing can top that, having calmed down a little during the next psalm, a ten-ton weight falls on your head and my god it’s heavy. Lead single This World Ain’t Big Enough is that heavy weight and it’s going to knock you out.
At this point, we only have one more original song and one more cover to go and it’s feeling as if it gets even better with every song. What we know about the next track is not a lot, because it’s the only original song to have not been released. As such the anticipation is almost too much to bear and we’ve been waiting for it since the opener.
Granted we could have just skipped to it, but actually, this album is a piece of art that should be listened to as it was presented to us. From start to finish. I’m With You Everywhere You Go does not disappoint, it’s an eclectic mix of melodic vocals and that harsh spit and bile we’ve become used to.
Apart from the remaining two psalms, the last song to grace our ears is a cover of Nine Inch Nails song Wish, which matches the original in brilliance. It seems as if the only downside of this album is in its very nature, as a mini-album it is short. You can’t help but wish it would continue longer.
Its definitely a prerequisite for any fan to buy the physical copy so they can get the full experience, psalms and all. Even those who are yet to jump on Saint Agnes ride to hell would benefit from the whole experience, rather than just streaming the main songs.
Standout Tracks: Repent, Vampire, I’m With You Everywhere You Go
For Fans Of: The Kills, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Rews
Written by: Cat Wiltshire