Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Saints - (I'm) Stranded (1977)

Sure, it sounds like it was recorded on a RadioShack C-120 cassette in an aluminum shack during a hailstorm with the treble turned up to ten, but what a buzz this album still delivers! The cranked momentum of the manic title song amazingly leads into more dementia, stopping for a breather only during the six-minute stomp of "Messin' With the Kid" and the (comparatively) Dylanesque "Story of Love", and then racing to the finish line with the mind-melting Stooges-style riff-insanity of "Nights in Venice". Ed Kuepper's lead guitar is all fuzz and treble throughout, spinning flashy solos where punks weren't supposed to do such things, and Chris Bailey's gruff howl attains a tuneful charisma seemingly through the force of will. It was a jawdropping surprise in '77; it sounds even more surprising now.

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