Saint Jude - Diary Of A Soul Fiend
Since meeting back in 2007, Saint Jude have been showcasing and honing material at their live sets, culminating in a six month residency at London's seemingly doomed 100 Club; shortly after, former Rolling Stones producer Chris Kimsey flew the band to Kentucky to record Diary Of A Soul Fiend. It has all resulted in an album that is ridiculously assured for a debut effort but despite this, it doesn't impress quite as much as it should. Tracks on the album are in either of two camps: straightforward rock with a 70's swagger ('Soul On Fire', 'Parallel Life') or acoustic ballads ('Down This Road', 'Rivers And Streams') and this isn't necessarily a bad thing in its own right as they are carried off with considerable aplomb; the latter in particular as they showcase Lynne Jackaman's stunning vocals, captivating as much as they do as when the rock tracks require a more raspy edge. The problem lies with the fact that everything seems to be done with the handbrakes on resulting in tracks that are a touch too conservative to fully excite the eardrums; 'Garden Of Eden' emphasises the disappointment when the shackles are thrown off for a glorious climax of guitar riffery. So overall, a satisfactory enough debut that bodes good things for the future but we can only hope that the band shift straight to fifth gear for the follow-up.