“(I’m) Stranded” by The Saints - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1977Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

Long before DIY culture had become a buzz-phrase in the Punk scene, this quartet from Brisbane had been getting on with it, promoting their own gigs, running their own clubs, and pressing their own great debut single, “I’m Stranded”, which was available hand to hand in September ’76. Things in Queensland were every bit as Conservative as they were in Britain; theirs was far from an easy ride. They were sussed enough to reach out to the “right people” in England with that calling card, and this worked wonders; EMI snapped ‘em up for an album deal. Laughably, the label tried to dress them up in “all the latest gear”, seeking to maximise the £ in what was perceived to be a fashion-sensitive scene. To their eternal credit, these boys said bollocks to that. Guitarist and co-writer Ed Kuepper would brilliantly later remark: “The band was a full thing by 1974. Two and a half years later, this incredibly fashionable movement comes along, only an arsehole would have associated himself with that.” At the time of this release in February ’77, the bullshit-free scruffs next door were: Chris Bailey (~19, vocals); Ed Kuepper (21, guitar); Kym Bradshaw (bass guitar) and Ivor Hay (drums).

Both sides of their ’76 single (“I’m Stranded” b/w “No Time”) were re-used, together with 8 new tracks recorded over the course of just two days in December ’76. The album channels Stooges’ “Raw Power” in terms of its wild, live and raucous sound. The no-messin’, live-in-the-studio ethic works for and against their cause I feel; the enthusiasm and energy carries them so far, but it’s all about the songs and sonics and, for me, the trashy lo-fi production does them an injustice and, to boot, they seem to run out of ideas in the second half. The first half highlights include the first two singles, the aforementioned title-track and the fantastic “Erotic Neurotic” which lives up to its great title. A big curveball is delivered with “Messin’ With The Kid”, a slow-tempo stoned-rocker which comes on all Neil Young. This will probably get them bottled when they play the Roxy. I kinda like this dangerous path. It’s clear the Saints are out to do their own thing and to hell with your scenes. The two covers delve into the 1960s; on side 1 “Wild About You” (The Missing Links, 1965) is the best of these, whilst on side 2, “Kissin' Cousins” (Elvis Presley, 1964) is less effective. For all their strange quirks, the overall feeling is that this lot are sweeping cobwebs away; the playing is fast, furious and skilful and Chris Bailey probably has the coolest vocal drawl since Lou Reed arrived ten years earlier. In ’77, the times they-were-a-changin’ and, quite clearly, the shifting plates were multi-continental.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [03:33] 7.9.png The Saints - (I’m) Stranded (Ed Kuepper, Chris Bailey) Punk
A2 [02:56] 7.0.png The Saints - One Way Street (Ed Kuepper, Chris Bailey) Punk
A3 [02:36] 6.4.png The Saints - Wild About You (Andy James) Punk
A4 [05:55] 7.7.png The Saints - Messin’ With The Kid (Ed Kuepper, Chris Bailey) Alternative Rock
A5 [04:07] 8.0.png The Saints - Erotic Neurotic (Ed Kuepper, Chris Bailey) Punk
B1 [02:48] 7.2.png The Saints - No Time (Ed Kuepper, Chris Bailey) Punk
B2 [02:00] 6.2.png The Saints - Kissin’ Cousins (Fred Wise, Randy Starr) Punk
B3 [03:12] 6.0.png The Saints - Story Of Love (Ed Kuepper) New Wave
B4 [01:42] 5.9.png The Saints - Demolition Girl (Ed Kuepper) Punk
B5 [05:41] 6.5.png The Saints - Nights In Venice (Ed Kuepper) Punk

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