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The Sins of Sainte Catherine
A pivotal figure within Dublin’s psycho-rock scene, he’s been threatening something special for some time, and praise be, The Sins of Sainte Catherine is a fine representation of his considerable talent.
Steve Cummins, 02 Oct 2006
Whisper The Mighty Stef’s name in certain quarters and you’ll hear him proclaimed as something of a genius. A pivotal figure within Dublin’s psycho-rock scene, he’s been threatening something special for some time, and praise be, The Sins of Sainte Catherine is a fine representation of his considerable talent. Recorded in Montreal, Canada, this is one of the most immaculately produced records you’ll hear all year. But it’s Stef’s mighty voice and devilishly accomplished songs that impress most. The opener ‘Sainte Catherine’ lays down the blueprint for the cast of vagrants and scoundrels who cameo throughout 14 tracks that veer from raucous garage-rock to folky rockabilly. From ‘The Days Of Wine And Roses’ to the infectious standouts ‘Down At The Radiotron’ and ‘Prayer For The Broken Hearted’, the influence of romantic Irish lyricists such as MacGowan, Dempsey and Lynott is evident, although it’s Pete Doherty with whom Stef shares the deepest affinity. The debt to Doherty is most marked on the fantastic ‘I Love You’, where Stef pilfers from The Libertines b-side ‘The Delaney’ to the extent that Barat and Doherty should be given a songwriting credit. ‘Liars’ too has the melodic poetic touch of The Libertines, while The Coral are all over ‘The Pirate Song’. There are some downers, notably the Lou Reed-esque ‘21st Century’, and at times a couple of the tracks sound as if they’d have benefited from added studio time. Nonetheless, as a calling card, The Sins of Sainte Catherine remains a mighty album in many ways.