Tit for tat, revivalism that’s blatant and self-serving is now, and will always be, a bored and misguided maneuver. I remember a time when people I respected actively hated bands that sound like All the Saints, a Southeastern trio who have staked its future in hope of a grebo revival.
Big things are happening for this band. Killer Pimp, the outta-nowhere label responsible for fishing A Place to Bury Strangers out of Pianos, picked these guys up; Touch & Go laid claim to them soon thereafter, committing to release the album on vinyl and digitally, and to work with the band exclusively for upcoming releases. That’s a lot of movement, a lot of hope that these guys are somehow going to do well, no matter what. I can’t think of a blander, more derivative, open-shirted, hair-gelled shoulder-length tresses, leather panted, “The Craft”-watching alternaturd to roll down the pike in a while. Gavin Rossdale should join this band.
Everything about this record, from its goopy over-production to its brooding, listless demeanor, suffers from a one-dimensionality that completely prevents connections to the listening audience. Songs like the title track beat you senseless with minor chord dirges, while acoustic seasick stumbles like “Leeds” sway innocuously, but that’s all they do; the effort to maintain atmosphere and gloom-ridden textures come at the cost of songwriting chops, so not only do the plodding rhythms roll along, downtrodden and sinister, the band seems too tired to rise up out of the murk. Leaden and unenthusiastic, All the Saints’ sonic burden comes off as more of an image move than anything else, staring off into the distance with a look of purpose but not the sense.
Not so long ago, there were a lot of bands that sounded a little bit like All the Saints, who return the favor by trying to sound like all of them at once. This is feather-boa music for a world that’s got serious problems up ahead, and feels excessive and unoriginal for this time and any other. When it needs to inspire, all it can do is mope.