Roy Santiago – The Great Pretender

I’m guessing that his dad likes Jonathan Richman and lots of stuff like Joe Jackson or Beach Boys: in essence sunny and honest, open-hearted pop.

 

http://www.munichrecords.com http://www.roysantiago.nl


A very enjoyable pop album, and seemingly chronicling the feelings and emotions unleashed by Roy Santiago’s change of address  from the West of Holland to the border town of Nijmegen: (albums have been written about stranger things, you know)…
As Roy says in his sleeve notes; “you are listening to my dad’s record collection”. I’m guessing that his dad likes Jonathan Richman and lots of stuff like Joe Jackson or Beach Boys: in essence sunny and honest, open-hearted pop. Santiago has a nice way with words, there’s nothing really obtuse or affected in his lyrics, and most of the songs seem to be about relationships of one sort or another: the “Stella” of his opening song being a Belgian lass he met on a campsite. It’s that kind of bashful, slightly prosaic whimsy that is being promoted here.


On listening to tracks like The Sun is In Your Eyes, The Zoltar Machine or The Trick, his manner of slightly melancholy wide-eyed pop is very reminiscent of Kelley Stoltz, which is always a good thing in Incendiary’s books. And at times I’m sure he’s been listening to Frank Black’s way of composing a track. Elsewhere there are enjoyable changes of mood with the shimmery Magic, My Car Isn’t Running Fast Enough (a determined, slightly restrained number which builds up in a very good way indeed), and a duet with chanteuse Lea Kliphuis on the very preppy, slightly mopey The Lady Wears a Suit.


It’s nothing new, but it’s engaging, human, honest and well crafted. Well worth a listen.