The Saints of Sorrow - Songs for the Forgotten (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Saints of Sorrow

Songs for the Forgotten (2011)


Street punk is an interesting genre, as it can throw up some good bands, some bad bands and some bands that I find plain annoying (the Dropkick Murphys come into the latter category). What is evident a lot of the times is that many of these bands have Irish roots that get shoehorned into songs in a fairly awkward way. So, putting my cynicism aside for 25 minutes or so, the Saints of Sorrow's debut album clearly takes on a street punk attitude, be it by accident or design, visually from the CD booklet and immediately from the opening track.

That opener, "Anthem" is a tuneful romp with lyrics as one would expect from the genre, and it does seem to include a guitar sound that has a nod in the direction of the Gaelic form of music which has me twitching a bit. What is particularly evident on this track, though, and something that crops up regularly throughout the album, is the bass playing, which has a sort of bouncy quality that provides a focus that overtakes the guitar at times in being the more notable instrument.

Most of the songs on here are well-paced, with nothing getting too out of control and mostly providing catchy choruses that don't take much consideration to absorb and recall when listening to the album on further spins.

Yes, the typical song titles are here with "By Your Side" (with its Irish-sounding guitar!) and "Rally Round", again featuring the kind of lyrics you'd expect to hear on a release of this nature. "Changes" is probably the most notable song on Songs for the Forgotten, with a slightly faster pace and a particularly strong vocal performance to boot. However, I have to admit to being totally bemused by "Loss", the fifth track, as it just sounds like a car wreck, with the two featured voices refusing to gel at all and generally coming across like a deservedly discarded demo track. For me it just stands out like a sore thumb and is the only blot on the landscape of this album.

Still, the Saints of Sorrow manage to pick themselves up from six feet under immediately with "Walk Away", which has a great guitar sound on its intro and pushes "Changes" for being the best track on the album, just slightly failing to make it to the top of the pile. Again, the bass playing stands out here, especially during the chorus, and helps make the song as good as it is. Next up is the aforementioned "Rally Round", which is another compelling song to add to an already impressive arsenal of material.

Overall, Songs for the Forgotten is an album that has the ability to grow on the listener and offer a selection of good quality, catchy upbeat songs (and with modern technology, allows you to trim it down by one track on any MP3 player!) and give a number of prominent street punk bands a run for their money–even if it's a playing field the band might not bother about being a part of.