The Broken Saints – Life Sentences

The Broken Saints - Life Sentences

As someone who grew up on a small island known for folk and Celtic music, I felt an immediate connection to The Broken Saints. Their sound, although still developing and growing I think, features a lot of the similarities of the folky music that reminds me of my hometown.

I’m not going to compare these guys and their new album to Ben Caplan, because that’s just not a fair comparison (Caplan has one of the most unique sounds and one of the most chiseled voices going). However, the Broken Saints do have the type of slightly haunting sound that reminds me of early Ben Caplan. I hope they’ll continue to work on perfecting that sound because there’s a definite niche market for it.

I’ve read reviews and self-descriptions of their new album Life Sentences and much of what I read focused on the drums and guitars as the band’s backbone. I’m not sure why, though. I think the strongest thing this band has going for them, the thing they should use to brand their sound, is the fiddle. It’s definitely the most prominent sound in each song – from Love Unrequited to Shallow Grave – and gives their tunes some much-needed excitement.

The Broken Saints

Many of the songs are incredibly similar, focusing on dark and mellow sounds. But one of the songs that really stuck out to me was The River. It’s the third song on the album and it’s refreshingly up-tempo. While the vocals are lacking a bit, the chorus is pretty catchy and I found myself stomping my foot along to it.

The band is rather large, with seven people total, all doing something to contribute to the sound. This may be why a couple of their songs sound busy to me. The intro to Lighthouse for example, has a lot going on instrumentally. It’s kind of confusing, but also pretty interesting. The track also features layered vocals (like many of the album’s songs) that add a nice touch to the sound. Harmonies are tough, but with a bit of work I think The Broken Saints could have something really appealing in terms of layered vocals.

A couple of other songs intrigued me, such as Below the Line and its string-plucking intro. I always love when an instrument is used a little differently than usual and I’m a sucker for finger-picking. Another tune that surprised me was Catharsis. I literally checked to make sure I was still listening to the same band. It was percussion and synth heavy with a bit of fiddle at the beginning, like hip-hop mixed with folk. I don’t hate it. I also really enjoyed hearing Katy McLaughlin a little bit more in this one. For most of the album they kind of hide the Katy McLaughlin and I think they could utilize it a bit more like they do in Catharsis.

The Broken Saints’ new album Life Sentences shows a lot of potential for the band. I think they have some developing and self-reflection to do in order to really hone their sound and perfect their vocals, but this album shows some promise.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply