Saint Saviour: In the Seams

Music Reviews Saint Saviour
Saint Saviour: In the Seams

Before In The Seams, Becky Jones was known for a lot of things, but stark folk singer wasn’t one of them. She was the previous lead singer of The RGBs and served as the frontwoman for the Groove Armada songs that she co-wrote. As Saint Saviour, Jones’ first album pegged her as a pop songstress whose vocals fell somewhere between Adele, Kate Bush and Die Antwoord’s Yolandi Visser. But as a reaction to the thickly synthesized layers of her dance-pop 2012 debut Union, Jones has reinvented herself, and Saint Saviour, on In the Seams.

And so In the Seams represents the antithesis of everything that preceded it. A hauntingly sparse album musically, Saint Saviour’s second LP highlights Jones’ breathy soprano over carefully constructed instrumentals of pianos, guitars and strings; bass and percussion are used sparingly, if at all. Collaborator and producer Bill Ryder-Jones of The Coral places so much emphasis on Jones’ vocals, in fact, that the arrangements performed by the Manchester Camerata Orchestra (a chamber-sized subsection of the Manchester Orchestra) almost seem like an afterthought.

Such production choices draw sharp attention to not only how Jones sings, but also what she says while doing so. On the opening admission of the first track, “Intro (Sorry),” she confesses, “I’ve made considerable mistakes.” From there, she tells stories from her past—of a boy being bullied (“James”) to youthful loneliness (“I Remember”)—as well as of her present musical explorations (“Let It Go”). Listening to In the Seams is like reading someone’s diary and creates an intimacy not usually found in pop music. There’s a bit of guilt in sneaking a peek, a bit of unnecessary personal fluff and a few deeply held secrets that are gifts to receive. Ultimately, what’s most impressive about In the Seams is that Jones chooses to portray Saint Saviour in this way and stick with it throughout the entire record.

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