The Sainte Catherines - Fire Works (Cover Artwork)

The Sainte Catherines

The Sainte Catherines: Fire WorksFire Works (2010)
Anchorless Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: margarinemargarine
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I have to admit, I really couldn't figure this one out at first. Four years after releasing their Fat Wreck album Dancing for Decadence, the Sainte Catherines returned with a slightly different lineup, and a very different sound compared to the previous record. It's a strange album to get around .
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I have to admit, I really couldn't figure this one out at first.

Four years after releasing their Fat Wreck album Dancing for Decadence, the Sainte Catherines returned with a slightly different lineup, and a very different sound compared to the previous record. It's a strange album to get around to, but I really do like it now.

Musically, the band has slowed the pace a bit. That's not necessarily a bad thing, even though at first many songs seem to sound alike and some don't really stand out.

After a few spins, however, I got to realize that the intent of the band band seems to have shifted along with the sonic changes: This is a much more personal album, one that is driven by its lyrics rather than the (quite satisfying) kicks in the face of gravelly punk presented by Dancing for Decadence.

The songs deal with a certain disillusion the band seems to have faced since the previous record. A disillusion towards their own band, the life they wanted out of it...and from what it seems like, the music business as a whole.

They have found a satisfaction in things they had probably not even thought of by the time 2006 came along: family, kids, marriage, and life at home. The attitude now is ''We don't need to make it. We tried. This is better.'. At times you wonder if there is a sense of denial in the lyrics, an overcompensation in them for things that did not work out as planned. It takes a lot for a band to write a record about (essentially) not wanting a life that contradicts–at times–the very idea of what they do.

The simplistic but effective approach that frontman Hugo Mudie takes on the song "No Friends", for instance, shows a vulnerability that was always present in his lyrics, but well-hidden behind the growl with which he used to sing. That growl is now completely gone, and he presents his current state of mind to us no holds barred.

If some songs on the album are unremarkable, others stand out as some of the best work the band has produced. ''BLR Vs. Cancer (Fuck Off Cancer Song)'', is, unlike its title, a hell of a catchy song–and the same can be said about the lead track ''We Used to Be in Love'', a song that also hints the band may have listened to the Gaslight Anthem a few times over. The Sainte Catherines don't shy away from poppier tendencies in the songwriting with this album. The influences seem clearer than before.

It's the honesty and heart-on-sleeve attitude that really make this album work. It's not about punk, pop, rock, Air Supply, Beethoven or whatever style you can name. They just really seemed to want to make something that reflected how they felt. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but ultimately it is what made me return to this album again and again, even though I didn't particularly dig it upon the first two or three spins.

One can't help but wonder what the future holds for them. Fire Works really seems to close a chapter, and seems to sum up this part in the band's life. As much as they talk about being satisfied with their current lives, there is such a clear passion and drive for the music on this album that we are left wondering where this is really taking them. You really do get the sense that they want more out of it than what they tell you.

I can sum it up this way: I listen to it often, and it's rare that I actually feel the need to dig deeper about an album–and Fire Works does that.


People who liked this also liked:
The Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsThe Gaslight Anthem - American SlangThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Flatliners - CavalcadeDead to Me - African ElephantsDear Landlord - Dream HomesCobra Skulls - Bringing the War Home

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
telegraphrocks (November 18, 2011)

Beautiful album.
R.I.P. guys... thanks for the awesome tunes!

MN_DrNick (January 22, 2011)

It's good.

thepopeofchili-town (January 20, 2011)

Solid record, definitely their best so far, but... come on, people. You act like it's London Calling.

equal (January 20, 2011)

The sound on this album makes more sense if you're familiar with their other (now defunct) project, Yesterday's Ring. It would appear that they've realized they can do it all with one band, combining the drive and brutally honest lyrics of the Sainte Catherines with the melody and even more brutally honest lyrics of Yesterday's Ring.

Dancing For Decadence was an incredible if underrated album, but 10 years from now, I think this one will stand out more.

smarttrigger (January 19, 2011)

Awesome album and definetly grows on you.

One of the best albums of 2010.

woodprop (January 18, 2011)

I like No Friends, BLR vs Cancer, and Maggie & Dave but the rest of this is pretty boring.

rawdogkabob (January 18, 2011)

this band has been at it now forever. nothing short of hard working, solid, good hearted folks! they're sound has now taken on what i think resembles the actuall people in the bands taste of music. It in my opinion is the album they have been working for this whole time. They've paid there dues and now they're doing it there way. One hell of a solid album, and I have no problem saying that it was my favorote album of 2010. Pop punk at it's finest!!! fuck off cancer and all you naysayers!

orphanchoir (January 18, 2011)

this record rules. give it a close listen and you'll fall for it.

kelly_d (January 18, 2011)

Needs more yesterdays ring.

damnitsderek (January 18, 2011)

Really fantastic album. Surprised it took so long for someone to review it here.

victim (January 18, 2011)

I think I feel like Byrne. I could see myself liking it I guess

bryne (January 18, 2011)

Really boring album. It's not bad per se, but so many bands are playing this style of music right now (and doing it far better and with more energy) that it sounds tired here.

StraightToHell82 (January 18, 2011)

Some of their best songs, mixed with a bit of their most boring.

humanunkind (January 18, 2011)

I adore this record. The Last 40 seconds of Reinventing Ron Hextall floor me every time.

MikeMoak (January 18, 2011)

this record is great, i think better than their fat release... I love sainte catherines, and montreal! STOKED FOR POUZZA FEST!!!!

jimmynorville (January 18, 2011)

Probably album, if not, top 5.

kylewagoner (January 18, 2011)

I was bummed when I saw them at Fest and not many people got too excited. I think they're awesome. And their drummer was a left-handed girl! How often do you see that?

hobbzoid (January 18, 2011)

this was most def one of the best of the last year. So good.

levi-dolphin (January 18, 2011)

Really great album!!! I new it would be really different, and it is but in a really good way. i highly recommend!

baseball (January 18, 2011)

Only album I like from this band and one of the best albums from last year. I've listened to this at least a couple times every week since I've had it.

PaulPendley (January 18, 2011)

Easily one of the best records of 2010 and if I had heard it before making my stupid best of list it easily would have been in the top five. 3 and 1/2 stars does not do this album justice and "So Long and Thanks For Nothing" deserves a mention. Great record.

alien (January 18, 2011)

definitely their best yet. probably in my top 10 of 2010.
Maggie & Dave rules!

Cowbells (January 18, 2011)

It's really rare for a review to focus so completely on the lyrical content and the overarching theme, and I really enjoyed it. More like this please.

hey_sailor (January 18, 2011)

Love this album to death.

hobbzoid (January 18, 2011)

i think it is their best record yet. Well fucking done.

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