Review: Far From Saints is Boundless on Cross-Genre Debut

Far From Saints
Far From Saints
(Ignition Records)
4 out of 5 stars

Videos by American Songwriter

It’s rare when you can pinpoint the exact moment when everything changed. For Far From Saints, they can trace that moment back to a cover of Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks’ “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” one innocent jam that would shape a band, kickstart an album, and set three musicians on a path to cross-genre glory.

Far From Saints—made up of Stereophonics’ Kelly Jones and The Wind and the Wave’s Patty Lynn and Dwight Baker—formed purely because of their shared unrepentant adoration for music. Now, they’re sharing that passion with us in the form of their self-titled debut. Together, the trio knows no bounds, something that’s evident on Far From Saints, a 10-track meditation on life and love that comes alive in shades of country, rock, folk, soul, and Americana.

‘Far From Saints’ album cover / Courtesy of Stunt Company

Far From Saints starts out with the group spinning Americana gold into the stirring, if at times predictable, “Screaming Hallelujah.” Powerful vocals play against a stripped-back arrangement that soon explodes into a rapturous swell of desperate strums and dust-kicking stomps. It’s a formulaic approach to folk, but it’s one that works.

Several of the songs follow suit – delivering a distant steel hum here, a sporadic jangle there – following a well-worn, but also a well-loved Americana blueprint. At first, they sound familiar, comfortable songs you can sink into and disappear in, but it’s the band’s bewitching harmonies that turn tunes like “Faded Black Tattoo” and “Let’s Turn This Back Around” into attention-grabbers.

Other songs are carried by their writing. It’s the words of the wailing country-flecked ballad, “We Won’t Get Out Alive,” the soul-stirring slow burner, “Let the Light Shine Over You,” and the stark gospel-tinged offering, “Gonna Find What’s Killing Me,” that makes the songs stand out as rugged poetry rather than a medley of lyric and sound.

A handful of soon-to-be hits exist among the album’s 10 tracks in the form of “Take It Through The Night” and “The Ride.” The former, a smoldering country-rock banger, brims with a kind of power that can only be discerned as something uniquely Far From Saints. The latter harbors a similar energy within its thundering southern rock sound. A hook-filled bop under its snarl and grit, “The Ride” will soon have crowds singing along.

In all, the album – and the band itself – sounds boundless as it traverses genres and themes. While at times the album threatens to be a conventional listen, the band comes to the rescue with their arresting harmonies and gripping lyricism. Overall, Far From Saints is a great introduction to a group of seasoned musicians starting anew, leading with an unadulterated love of the music that first brought them together.

Far From Saints is out now.

Photo by Sophia French / Courtesy of Stunt Company

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