By Kenny McMurtrie
Looking a tad like the hipster younger brother of The Proclaimers, Saint Max thankfully has a vocal style more in line with that of Smiths-era Morrissey than the dedicated walkers from Leith. This spritely five track debut kicks off with a blast of Mariachi-like brass and then jangles along with the trumpets parping and trilling away over the top for an enjoyably upbeat couple of minutes on track one, ‘A Life Worth Living’, with the boy Max displaying a deft mastery of lyric writing as well as delivery of said lyrics.
Track two is delivered at a frenetic pace akin to that of the Buzzcocks as Max manages to hit the high notes whilst detailing why he’s so ‘Afraid Of Love’. At the mid-point the spectre of Mozza rears its head once more as things take on a ska-hued tone in ‘Let ‘Em Have It Sunshine’, another joyfully emotive and direct burst of energetic indie with a well developed pop sensibility, making for a pleasant change from the current crop of more po faced Scottish artists.
Proceedings take a slower and more considered (romantic even) turn on penultimate track ‘Wonderful Life’ (which owes a lot to ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’) as the brass returns for some good interplay with the yearning vocals. Despite that this is probably the weakest song of the set – either because it’s slightly too long or could do with relying on the vocals alone less often, hard to pinpoint exactly. Things are closed out with ‘Die Anne Die’, a simpler affair than the first three songs but one which shares their general level of pace and fun. All told then a very enjoyable listen that bodes well for a full length release sometime in the (hopefully) not too distant future. I’m away to play it again for the umpteenth time.