Okay. Enough for my tolerance in your failings.
I'm sorry, but you, the reader, will have to display a minutes' patience here. Unless you are a rabid Saints fan, who, presumably, will have bought this set already. No, it is the curious, the idle grazer of a reader I am now addressing. You probably won't have heard of the Saints, (in itself a crime, but lets not split hairs just yet). If you are of the name dropping clan, I expect you will have heard of them, and may be using this article to brush up some more facts about them to show off with, but don't see the need of actually listening to them. (After all, all you think you need to know is that they were an art punk band ahead of their time, right?)
Okay. Enough for my tolerance in your failings. I suggest that, even if your budget does not run to the 40+ euros for this set, at least obtain some Saints material, by whatever methods you prefer. I really don't care. It is enough for me to say that to live a life in ignorance of albums shining with such brilliance as I'm Stranded or Know Your Product must be (in my eyes) to live a life in Outer Darkness. The Saints were brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Brimful of ideas and insight, chockful of Cavalier expressions and mannerisms. A band with two incredible leaders in Chris Bailey and Ed Kuepper. A band who not only created three incredible albums, STILL better than most output around today, but (in Kuepper's case alone), gave birth to later (and amazing) bands like the Laughing Clowns. I'd better stop before I get palpitations.
What you get in this "lavishly presented gift box, full of copious, detailed sleeve notes" is four cds, covering the bands three albums, (with numerous "alternative versions" (read for that worse versions)) and two blistering live sets, one from the fabled Hope and Anchor, the other from Sydney, in 1977.
The albums themselves chart the development of a band very much in the learning curve; 1977's I'm Stranded wins through with a ruthless one-two of brilliant, caustic, song writing and unquenchable energy. I defy anyone not to love the title track, or for that matter Erotic Neurotic, or Demolition Girl, or the incredible cover of River Deep Mountain High. "Know your Product", the band's second album, released in 1978 sounds incredibly fresh today, almost avant garde. Private Affair, and This Perfect Day are minor classics and wouldn't passed unnoticed in (lets say) a set by the 22-20s. Prehistoric Sounds, possibly - in retrospect - the most mis-named lp of all time, covers most of cd three. What an LP. Classy, ahead of its time, polished (but not too much); its a testament to the writing abilities of Kuepper & Bailey. Stuff like Everydays a Holiday and Church of Indifference just drip intelligence and wit. And, by contrast, just to blast you into submission, there's the aforementioned live in Sydney gig for afters.
The Hope & Anchor gig, despite being somewhat sonically challenged (oh, alright, crappily recorded), is my favourite. It's just so messy, and in its messiness, captures that indefinable something about going to gigs; the anticipation, the feeling of living by your wits. It almost had me in tears.
So there you have it, another review, another impassioned appeal. I know these box set things are bloody expensive, and forking out good money for a band you've probably never heard of, let alone never heard, is a tall order. But you only live once. I suggest you give it a whirl.