Too much garage rock and dirty blues bands around these days? Quite possibly, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t space for another one. Jamie Mahon, formerly with The Three 4 Tens (their album Taking Northern Liberties is worth tracking down) is now operating as St James & The Apostles and they released the album Baphomet in 2012.
‘Kiss & Tell’ starts with a crunching garage rocker. ‘Let The Right One In’ is a simply stunning piece of simplistic, but stirring rock ‘n’ roll boogie, the title is pretty much 50% of the lyrics, which provides the song with a startling immediacy, if you can sing along to a song the first time you hear it you’re on to a winner. This bleeds into ‘Garmonbozia’ with a ramped up punk pace. ‘St James’ Infirmary’ is where the bruised blues of St James creeps in. ‘Still Waiting For The Son’ could almost be Dandy Warhols-ish pop. ‘Down The Way’ has a glam era Bowie riff before kicking into a stomping, late night rave up. ‘My Strange War Days’, the obligatory closing jam starts with tightrope guitar that forms a dazzling, neurotic interplay with the organ while Mahon shrieks and yelps from behind somewhere, hollering like a lost street-corner evangelist. Overcome by washes of organ it descends into silence… then returns with jazz brass wankery.
At 34 minutes Baphomet is an album that manages to sound tight and loose at the same time, no mean feat. It stings and caresses in equal measure. Influences are apparent but at no point does it feel like rehashing the sounds of yesteryear. Vocals are strong throughout, no effects laden shoe-gazing here. Mahon is leading his band from the front and very good at it. Piano and organs are well to the fore, giving a Spacemen 3 / Spiritualized religious vibe. Baphomet is a dirty, lascivious album though, so if there is a religion at play it’s closest to the one preached by Robert Mitchum in The Night Of The Hunter. Trashy, primal, debauched and illicit, if you like your blues and garage rock as sleazy as an Errol Flynn trip to Mexico then Baphomet may be for you.
SEARCH IT: ST JAMES & THE APOSTLES ‘LET THE RIGHT ONE IN’