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The Saints: King Of The Sun

Punk veteran’s jangle-inflected midlife Renaissance.

The rights and wrongs of Chris Bailey claiming The Saints mantle from 1976’s I’m Stranded partner Ed Keupper melt away in the face of the all-encompassing sureness of this homecoming triumph.

Recorded in his native Sydney, King Of The Sun contemplates a chequered career in autumnal acoustic-centred gems, strengthened by a head-on assessment of bittersweet experience. The tunes have the mark of an elegaic craftsman while Mariachi horns and sweeping strings bring impressive valedictory touches (Sweet Charity). The raw, elemental focus gives emotional depth and resonance aplenty to world-weary images shot through with powerful melodies (A MIllion Miles Away).

Lyrical reminders to potency ring true, as in the ‘volcano smoking in the corner’ that presages the gilded star-bright payoff in Turn. File under ‘old hand goes the extra mile, shining bright’.

Late NME, Daily Mirror and Classic Rock writer Gavin Martin started writing about music in 1977 when he published his hand-written fanzine Alternative Ulster in Belfast. He moved to London in 1980 to become the NME’s Media Editor and features writer, where he interviewed the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer, Pete Townshend, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Ian Dury, Killing Joke, Neil Young, REM, Sting, Marvin Gaye, Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone, James Brown, Willie Nelson, Willie Dixon, Madonna and a host of others. He was also published in The Times, Guardian, Independent, Loaded, GQ and Uncut, he had pieces on Michael Jackson, Van Morrison and Frank Sinatra featured in The Faber Book Of Pop and Rock ’N’ Roll Is Here To Stay, and was the Daily Mirror’s regular music critic from 2001. He died in 2022.