“I’ve got no fucks left to give” screams Kitty A. Austin on ‘I Mean Nothing To You’, the third track on the sophomore album from East London noise merchants Saint Agnes. That one statement sums up the pent-up aggression and raw power that the band have as she rages with utter conviction.
Written and recorded in the weeks and months following the sudden death of the singer’s mother, ‘Bloodsuckers’ is the sound of a band on the edge, fighting with everything they have to survive, whilst holding a middle finger firmly in defiance.
Saint Agnes have come a long way since their debut album ‘Welcome To Silvertown’ was released back in 2019. The covid years saw the band veer away from the White Stripes/The Kills bluesy guitar/drums sound with the release of the critically acclaimed ‘The Family Strange’ and ‘Vampire’ EPs, where they attack their music with a touch more venom and a whole lotta conviction.
The opening title track of ‘Bloodsuckers’ follows in the same vein with an angry burst of industrial-tinged noise. It’s an expletive-ridden diatribe with intense beats and razor wire guitar riffage. I think I may be in love! The following single ‘Animal’ rides in on a No Doubt style melody over a cool skulking bassline, but there’s where the comparisons firmly end. “I’m a motherfuckin animal” she screams over detuned guitars and a barrage of beats. It’s more ferocious and honest than anything she has put her vocals chords to in the past. “Motherfucker try to fight me?” she challenges, as her partner in grime Jon James Tufnell reels off another jarring riff over industrial noise. Dark, pissed off and as powerful as a juggernaut crashing through your speakers.
‘Outsider’ is the standout, and dare I say it, most commercial song on offer. It is the perfect anthem for the disenchanted youth, the kids who don’t belong, it’s a song for society’s rejects to rejoice in and take as their own. The killer chorus refrain, the sultry vocal delivery and the chugging, Nu-Metal guitar riffs. It’s a monster of a song, make no mistake.
How do you follow such a song? How about ending side one of the record with a piano-led ballad that questions life, the universe and the absurd futility of it all? Grief can be the most powerful of emotions and can fuel the creative juices of a songwriter like nothing else. Heartfelt, emotive and delicate, ‘This Is Not The End’ will tug at the heartstrings.
‘Bloodsuckers’ straddles genres through its 42-minute journey. A punky and metallic smack upside the head that refuses to back down. The relentless pummeling of the senses and the furious, schizophrenic delivery of the singer is just what is needed in these dreary musical climes of beige, mainstream music.
The dark and brooding ‘At War With Myself’ with almost tribal beats, swathes of electronica and chugging guitars brings to mind turn of the century greats from the likes of NIN, Marilyn Manson and even Korn. Elsewhere the addition of Mimi Barks to the jarring and ferocious ‘Body Bag’ adds raw punk power into the mix.
One way to deal with loss is to scream as loud as you can to exorcise the emotions, and Kitty A. Austin is certainly doing it her way in the wake of a shit storm to find beauty in all that is dark. Saint Agnes have created a monster that cannot be ignored, ‘Bloodsuckers’ is the sound of a band on the edge, a band on fire and a band who are at the top of their game. If they have even half of the energy live that they exude on this album, then be afraid, be very afraid.
Author: Ben Hughes