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Golden Blue

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Album Review

St. Christopher first appeared on the then-nascent UK twee-pop scene in 1986. Over a series of singles, EPs and albums released on at least half a dozen highly regarded indie labels, singer/songwriter Glenn Melia and a revolving crew of sidepersons developed a rather slight but likable body of work, but in all those years, only managed one flat-out masterpiece, the 1988 single "All of a Tremble." That song, two minutes of breathless vocals and hyper-jangly guitars, is a touchstone of the whole twee-pop aesthetic and one of the era's classic British indie singles. Nothing on 2001's Golden Blue, St. Christopher's first album in nearly half a decade, reaches that level, although the gently squalling "The First Or The Last" comes pretty close, not least because of its the glorious fuzztone and reverb guitar sound, and the Echo and the Bunnymen-like "Low" is a neo-psychedelic gem. On the downside, too many of these 11 brief songs use the same low-key arrangement ideas and the album's most memorable chorus, from "The Devil From Nowhere," is a direct, plagiarism suit-worthy lift from the Flying Machine's 1968 hit "Smile A Little Smile For Me." More irritatingly, Melia has adopted a new vocal style on this album, a Jarvis Cocker-style whine that serves to put even his most personal lyrics in arch quotation marks. St. Christopher have always hit their peaks on individual songs, which meant they were perfect for the "singles are everything" indiepop mindset, but it makes listening to an album like Golden Blue a rather frustrating experience.


Formed: 1984 in York, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Standing at the intersection of Brit-pop and indie pop, St. Christopher is helmed by singer/songwriter/guitarist Glenn Melia. The band formed in the early '80s, and their early releases were collected in the compilation Dig Deep, Brother: 1984-1990. Albums such as 1991's Man, I Could Scream, 1994's Love You to Pieces, and 1996's Lioness followed on Vinyl Japan; four years later, St. Christopher returned with Golden Blue, which was released by Parasol Records. A long hiatus during the 2000s...
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Golden Blue, St. Christopher
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