Wednesday, April 13, 2016

ST. JAMES: ”Resurgence”

Rating: RRR
Label: St. James 2016
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

Here’s a 17-track archival release from St. James, a hard rock band from New Haven, Connecticut. The band featured vocalist John James and the Jacobs brothers James and Robert on guitar and bass. Their secret weapon was drummer/producer Carl Canedy (The Rods). He never got to play live with the band because of his busy schedule, which lead to the band keeping his involvement a secret and using stand-in drummers for the gigs.

Sometime ago, Canedy found these St. James tapes, gave them a listen and thought they were too good to just gather dust in the closet. Now they’ve been dusted off, remastered and released for the world to hear.

Had ”Resurgence” been released back in the early nineties, I’m pretty sure it’d be enjoying at least a cult classic status these days. With a little luck and a major deal, they might have scored a minor hit or two with some of these songs. Bear in mind that in 1991 the tide was already turning and the flannel invasion was right around the corner…

With 17 songs (okay, 16 and an outro), this is a rather uneven compilation of material and you can hear that the band is exploring different directions. It might have been better to just release the better sounding tracks because the last few songs sound very rough and lo-fi.

So what do we have here? Well, most of the songs remind me a lot of Poison, maybe with a little bit of Ratt, Van Halen and Cinderella thrown in. That’s the first 11 songs or so. Among the last few tracks the band add keyboards to the mix a couple of times and go for a more Bon Joviesque approach. Unfortunately ”In Your Heart” and especially ”Crimes Of The Heart” suffer of a demo-like sound quality, otherwise they would have been among my favorites. Same goes for ”Inside The Outside”, a fast-paced cool hard rocker with easily the worst sound of all these tracks. If the St. James story continues, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to re-record these three songs.

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