In 2014, after 10 years of touring the world (literally every continent but Antarctica!) in Atlanta’s legendary Black Lips as well as the critically-acclaimed Diamond Rugs, guitarist and vocalist Ian Saint Pé needed a change. As he put it, “The only thing you can’t change is time, So it was time that changed me. I loved the Black Lips, but I needed to enjoy new environments. So I got a brand new bag: Saint Pé.”
He packed up his gear and moved to Nashville, where he settled down in a log cabin formerly owned by country legend Roy Acuff. Before long, that home had also turned into a studio, and with the help of a number of Atlanta-based friends, the Album, Fixed Focus was born. It’s less a departure from the sounds of the Lips and Rugs as it is an informed continuation of them that maintains all the hooks and pop sensibilities of his previous acts, while refining them with a bit of Nashville class and a hint of the darkness that 10 years on the road imbues upon the soul.
From singalong stompers “Street Lights,” “Got The Look” and “Kiss It Goodbye” to Southern Gothic explorations like “Burning Bright” and “Carbon Maker,” Fixed Focus is a fully-formed solo debut that sounds more like an album from deep into an established career.
Recorded by Saint Pé himself, Fixed Focus was then mixed by Matt Boynton (Kurt Vile, MGMT) in New York City and mastered by Joel Hatstat in Athens, GA.
With his first record finally in that brand new bag and new songs already on the way, Saint Pé plans to spend the foreseeable future back on the road with this latest project, bringing his new sounds to plenty of familiar faces.
For me, Crocodiles represent everything I love about life-affirming Rock’n'Roll: they bring light out of darkness; they match reckless noise with the most beautiful melodies; they catch you off guard whilst sounding like the most perfect kind of right for the right here, right now.
They remind me of all the things I’ve loved but they also make me hungry for what I’ve not yet tasted. The claustrophobia and pain of the recent past is dealt with bravely and the road ahead is wide and open. It is all my favorite records playing at once; the trick to it being the truth; the truth being that great, life-affirming music must be bittersweet; anger is an energy that can be churned to positive.
We who face the demons of derailment out to destroy dreams must harness the hate and turn it back on itself—it is from this that great art is begat. And so these songs rage and chime at once, in organized chaos, like life.
Charles and Brandon have been making music together since they were 18. They met in the dirty glow of San Diego sun and now split their lives between New York City and London. Their music has grown up over the last decade just as they have. New blood in the form of producer Sune Rose Wagner of Raveonettes fame oversaw this recent endeavor and it was a quick, natural Los Angeles creation. Duncan Mills mixed for the third time, to maintain their catalogue lifeline.
Crimes Of Passion kicks off with “I Like It In The Dark,” which could be their best to date; a joyous hymn to atheism and closes with the aching beauty of “Un Chant D’Amour,” a simple and direct ode to heartbreak. These songs bookmark an album bursting with sounds inspired by the likes of the Soft Boys, Street Hassle era Lou Reed, the Notorious Byrd Brothers, the Jackson 5 and even Glenn Branca. This is certainly the most fully realised Crocodiles album to date.
It is a sadly accepted impression that life is cooler in song, on screen, in art, or in poetry, but it is far superior when the creative process is fed back into real life and an album like Crimes Of Passion is born.