Album Reviews

The Saint James Society

Covered in Blood

Artist:     The Saint James Society

Album:     Covered in Blood

Label:     Blank City Records

Release Date:     7.28.17

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Dyed black, the billowing, expansive sonic fabric exquisitely woven by dark wave acolytes The Saint James Society is undeniably stylish. It’s draped all over Covered in Blood, an exhilarating EP of covers that serves as a shadowy shrine to their goth muses. The wild energy barely contained therein almost rips it apart at the seams.

Highlighted by a simply elegant and meditative reading of Bauhaus’ haunting “All We Ever Wanted Was Everything” and a galvanizing gallop through the shimmering, cinematic mystery of Siouxsie and The Banshees’ “Arabian Knights,” the physical release is – perhaps fittingly – a limited-edition pressing on actual used x-rays. After all, the collective’s mastermind, singer/multi-instrumentalist Brandon Burkart, and his co-conspirators have been studying the songs’ ghostly anatomies for years, often playing them live. As for the format itself, while it may seem strange, or even a little creepy, it does have a fascinating history. Used in the´50s and ’60s to covertly sneak jazz and pop records into countries in the old Soviet Bloc, it is being touted as Blank City Records’ specialty.

Covered in Blood is the label’s debut—only 100 copies of the EP were made—and it comes with a digital download of all five tracks, including crashing, fiery remakes of Shocking Blue’s “Hot Sand” and Lords of the New Church’s “Russian Roulette,” which rushes straight into oblivion with cinematic glory. An ’80s-style remix of “Arabian Nights,” done by Romanian producer Peter Zaad, is an entertaining, if unnecessary, addition, but the slightly psychedelic, slashing guitars, dreamy synthesizers, fluid bass lines and zealous throngs of vocals featuring guest singers such as Swan and Anna Bullock proved essential to helping prolong the lives of these cult classics.

—Peter Lindblad

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