Saint Max and the Fanatics

Imagine the ghosts of Flanagan and Allen brought to life - albeit their gentle vibe as pictured by a bunch of speed freaks.

 

 

Braw Power

 

This EP is a marvellous raggle-taggle noise, replete with a singer with a funny voice (funny in the sense you realise he is the sort of bloke who would be a real scream or a pain in the arse if you encountered him in your local). Opener, A Life Worth Living, is full of up-tempo strumming with that sort of jaunty bloody mindedness that can only come from long experience of busking subways. There’s a fair dollop of Ray Davies in the vocal delivery and indeed the lyrical content, lots of stories of people doing hateful things like growing up and doing other mundane actions. Add some chronically pissed up brass stabs and you have a damn fine pop song. Afraid of Love is a jerky, itchy wailing thing which threatens to become a mix of yodelling and high tempo strumming, a heady if disconcerting combo indeed. Then with Let ‘Em Have It Sunshine, we get some ersatz Balkan band setting up a sort of comradely knees up under a railway bridge – imagine the ghosts of Flanagan and Allen brought to life - albeit their gentle vibe as pictured by a bunch of speed freaks.

At this point you are in need of a cup of tea, and some form of respite is given by the surprisingly soft and gentle Wonderful Life – it’s a lugubrious, funny song; if one blatantly nabbing all the (happier?!) bits of Reel Around the Fountain. Things pick up pace a bit with the wry Die Annie Die, the brass returns as does the busking vibe. It’s ever so slightly anthemic and a little bit more serious than the rest of the up-tempo tracks.

Great stuff this record, like drinking pop up your nose.