EP Review: Ivory Saints – Say My Name

As The Virginmarys played their first Glasgow headline show in close to four years last month, it fell on some poor bunch to open up for them who weren’t called Anchor Lane (who were main support on roughly half the dates). And as a last-minute drafting, Ivory Saints put the first night of the tour up there with the best, hitting the crowd running with a thrilling performance. It’s been a while since a Glasgow band thoroughly impressed me and I was quite disappointed I couldn’t make it along to their recent EP launch.

Imagine Florence Black but good – that’s what Ivory Saints sound like. It’s hard rock powered by riffs from people who actually know how to play their instruments. With their gritty take on the genre, there’s hints of boogie, fuzz and doom and like all sensible people, clearly have a love for Clutch without becoming parody. Say My Name has the perfect blend of youthful energy and experience to make for a captivating listen, it’s rough around the edges without being sloppy and tight enough without being uninspired.

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“Seasick” carries enough groove and boogie against the riff to sound like 70s AC/DC, albeit more restrained and carrying a fuzzy tone to make it sound like a gritty Southern rock number. Meanwhile, “I Don’t Mind” carries on the boogie flavour and in the verses, has the same sort of bounce as Status Quo but far more boisterous, its snarling riff chugging along in the same way earlier material of Massive Wagons would.

Closing out the “proper” part of the EP is “Be Like That” and with its title, you know it’s going to be a slower number. And as much as they know how to create upstanding, straightforward rock, they also know how to write something a bit tamer. It’s not quite full-on Bon Jovi or Shinedown levels of slush and indeed, with the change in tone at the end of the EP, it manages to not feel out of place due to the two B-sides which follow it.

Speaking of which, “Rain” is one of the most bare bones yet hard-charging songs on the EP and as the shortest track included, is finished before you’ve barely had a chance to be acquainted. The crunching “Big Dirty Tom” closes out the EP, hints of menace lace the melody with pounding drums and a “Freebird”-like double time section to allow them to spread their wings (pardon the pun). However, the shift in production for these final two songs show why they’re listed as B-sides as they don’t quite match up sonically with what came before.

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There’s a lot of great things about Ivory Saints’ EP and whilst its main body may not be as well-produced as a lot of releases which lands in our inbox, it’s not unlistenable – far from it. The garage recording feel of it gives it more of a live feel and what you’d expect to hear from them in a sweaty venue. It’s that authenticity which endeared them to so many last month and as a band who are already sure of themselves but having plenty of room to grow, there’s no doubt the next release is going to be even better. Sonically, they don’t try to do too much, taking their influences and making them sound like Ivory Saints, they bring familiarity to the table but gently lead the listener by the hand to show other sides of themselves and the genre.

Say My Name is out now

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