There’s a tremendous amount of personality and musical skill coming across with Saint Jaimz’s single “Absent Without Love” and this track culled from his full length release Life Songs is definitely reflective of the talents he brings to bear across the board. Saint Jaimz recalls the halcyon days of classic R&B and soul spanning over the genre’s history while still coming across as a cutting edge writer and performer who takes decades of influences, transmutes them through his own personality and experiences, thereby producing something uniquely his own without any imitation or self-indulgence creeping into the aural picture. The songwriting is a cut above the average level of material in the genre thanks to the depth of Jaimz’s writing talents and the high quality recording the song receives helps it stand out even further. “Absent Without Love” is a hit single waiting to happen and will definitely, at least, elicit Jaimz some much deserved critical and commercial attention.
It’s attention that comes naturally and well earned. Jaimz sounds like a writer, singer, and performer who have been at this for many years and the organic sound of his vocal crackles with enough inspiration to suggest he heard the backing track for the song for the first time when he cut this vocal. The urgency of his singing is understated and always effectively positioned against smoother, more stylized passages he pulls off with equal aplomb. His presence in the song is key to much of what goes on, but it isn’t the whole story and he’s fortunately the sort of vocalist who clearly wants to sing as part of a band rather than making this totally about him and some ill-conceived virtuoso turn. The phrasing is especially effective – Jaimz even approximates a sensual quality in his delivery, reflective of heartbreak rather than heat, and it’s quite an alluring listen.
The guitar running through the song is one of its musical keys and handled with such cultivated sensibilities that one is tempted to focus on it alone. It’s a relatively unusual strategy for songs in this style, but it’s a seamless fit and its inclusion shows off Jaimz’s willingness to upend the audience’s expectations. The rhythm section is important as well, especially the drumming, though the song could have benefitted from an increased emphasis on giving the drums a conclusively live sound; as they are now, it’s difficult to tell whether they are computed generated or played by a human. The light synth and keyboard color added to the piece has a definite shape and further contributes to its melodic virtues. This laundry list of ingredients go into making “Absent Without Love” one of the more memorable R&B/soul tunes released in recent memory and the groove is impossible to dismiss or forget. Instead, Saint Jaimz proves with this release that he stands among the forefront of talents rising through the ranks today.