Raucous riff rock meets old fashioned country grooving in the awesome new record The Saint and The Sinner from The American Revival, and it’s ten tracks pack a punch that is almost guaranteed to get fans of both genres excited this spring. After the blaze of distorted guitars that introduces us to the band in “The Devil Lives in the South” finishes pummeling us with its might, The American Revival waste no time before laying the feverish grit of “The Way You Can” on us, and what transpires in the mammoth melodies that follow is nothing short of spellbinding. Country is getting the electrified makeover that its most ardent fans have been begging for lately in The Saint and The Sinner, but this group isn’t abandoning its traditional framework in their attempt at revitalizing the style’s aging aesthetics.
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“Remember This,” “On My Way,” star single “Whiskey Kisses” and “Lovin’ I Gave You” are more conventional country songs than “The Way You Can,” “Friday Night” and “Rise & Fall” are, but both sets of songs share a rock n’ roll hybridity in their tone that helps to them to sit together cohesively in this tracklist. There’s a lot of fluidity in The Saint and The Sinner, and for the most part, each song rolls into the next in a rather conceptual fashion, making this a choice record to play all the way through without feeling the need to shuffle the arrangement of the tracks. If there’s a larger narrative that all of this material is trying to convey to us, it’s one that is as ancient as Americana itself, but skewed with an undyingly personal bend from The American Revival that stands as the antithesis of alternative Nashville’s polarizing plasticity
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The tonality in “Texas Weather,” the title track, “Remember This” and “Friday Night” is brimming with a classic rock warmth that is as addictive as any of their riffs are, and though there’s a fair mix of vocal panache and instrumental prowess in this album, the overdriven twang that frames the lyrical content in “Lovin’ I Gave You” alone makes this feel like a very guitar-oriented record. The strings are a constant presence, translating an emotionality that words just can’t sum up – at least in any language that I’ve ever heard – and while I think that the verses within all of these songs could stand on their own just fine without any musical backing track, there’s so much more to be said about the harmonies that comprise The Saint and The Sinner’s artistic nucleus.
Articulate pastoral poetry and righteous country rhythm haven’t sounded this fresh in years, and for my money, there isn’t a band actively touring today that has the same command of their style as The American Revival does in this stellar LP. The Saint and The Sinner, as its name implies, is an album that is all about contrast, but it’s not defined by its multilayered construction alone. This is as pure a country/rock sound as I’ve heard in a long time, and if given the right platform, I think that it has the potential to have a really big impact on this band’s scene moving forward.