When faced with adverse circumstance there are two ways to go. You can either take a dive and hit the canvas, or you can absorb the punches and come out swinging. Thankfully, London’s Saint Agnes took the second option, and the personal trauma surrounding the making of their sophomore album, Bloodsuckers, only poured fuel on their fire. Featuring 11 tracks of undiluted rage and emotion, this album is not always a comfortable listen, but it is always rewarding.
With no warning, the album’s title (and opening) track arrives as if an uppercut from Tyson Fury and it sends notes flying in every direction like shattered teeth. It’s a musical explosion that seethes with anger, and you can almost see the vein’s popping out of vocalist Kitty A. Austen’s neck as she turns in a heartfelt performance. The Litmus Test for any rock song is how well it transfers to the live environment, and having witnessed Saint Agnes tearing up 2000 Trees recently (reviewed here), I’m pleased to report that ‘Bloodsuckers’ passes with flying colours. The strong groove that permeates the song carries it forward, affords it instant earworm status, and you’ll find yourself singing the wonderfully sweary chorus at all the most inappropriate moments.
Bloodsuckers is a kaleidoscopic album with no two songs inhabiting the same sonic space, but what stitches it together is an energy that’s derived from a well-honed aggression. Saint Agnes are peeved off, and it filters through almost every note of this album, whether it is the ode to the marginalised (‘Outsider’), the musical comfort blanket that is ‘This Is Not The End’, or the fiercely defiant ‘Middle Finger’, Bloodsuckers is an ouroboros feeding off its own energy. However, Saint Agnes aren’t all pent-up fury, and even when they’re blazing away on ‘Body bag’ (featuring a guest spot from Mimi Barks) they are wise enough to insert a quieter, unsettling mid-section, to highlight and contrast the heavier sections that bookend the song.
Pulling all the various strands of Bloodsuckers into a cohesive whole, ‘Forever And Ever’ is an epic track that seethes and ululates, like some strange alien life form, and such is the all-consuming nature of this record that the silence which follows feels like a gaping void. Bloodsuckers emotive nature means it isn’t always an easy ride, yet there’s a lot of hope within its grooves, and at its conclusion you’ll feel strangely cleansed.
- Bloodsuckers is released via Spinefarm Records on 21st July 2023.
- I Mean Nothing To You
- This Is Not The End
- Follow You
- I Am
- At War With Myself
- Middle Finger
- Body Bag
- Forever And Ever