You hear a growing collaborative spirit inhabiting Saint Jaimz’s music with each new release. The latest single from this California singer and songwriter, “AWOL (Absent Without Love)”, isn’t your typical love song despite the emotion pouring out of every line and musical bar. Saint Jaimz has clearly become a singer who pays close attention to the song’s arrangement and this focus on keying his voice to the instrumentation results in a more unified, realized performance capable of plumbing deeper into listener’s emotions. He possesses a voice that sings for the love of singing and communicating with the widest possible audience. “AWOL (Absent Without Love)” accomplishes that and sets the bar ever higher for this talented performer. There’s every indication that he’ll continue advancing the goal posts with each new release.
“AWOL (Absent Without Love)” doesn’t tackle revolutionary subject matter; its themes are part and parcel of the pop song experience. However, the thing separating what Saint Jaimz does compared to the vast majority of other performers is how he re-envisions these circumstances and emotions through his powerful voice and, more important, when he chooses not to sing. There’s immense artistry powering “AWOL (Absent Without Love)” and it never takes any short cuts towards satisfying the listener’s expectations. If anything, it slightly upends them.
I am sure many listeners go into this single expecting certain elements by rote; synthesizer, pre-programmed percussion, to name a few things common to modern pop music. There’s none of that here. Jaimz’s traditional approach to music making involves real instruments rather than their technological substitutes and, as a result, the song has a warm ambiance inviting you in from its first seconds on. The interplay between the different instruments is genuine from the first and you can hear a palpable chemistry that’s quite complementary to Jaimz’s vocals.
The drumming is especially critical to the song’s success. It lays down a solid groove from the song’s outset and never presses too hard in holding it together throughout the course of the song. The bass doesn’t occupy the same level of prominence in the mix, but it’s nonetheless present enough to give “AWOL (Absent Without Love)” a resonant pulse. Saint Jaimz’s touch of guitar filling the track is, perhaps, its deftest touch – the six string deepens the soulfulness of the song. He handles all of these disparate parts with great skill as a singer, coming in at just the right moments, backing off when needed. His instincts are unerring.
It makes “AWOL (Absent Without Love)” as impactful of a listening experience as you’ll encounter this year. Saint Jaimz refines and expands his creative vision with each new release and the growing confidence he shows with successive singles suggests he’s far from finished evolving as a talent and even greater days are to come. It’s difficult, but thrilling, to imagine. His new single “AWOL (Absent Without Love)” is a fine example of what classic R&B sounds are capable of without ever falling prey to a host of clichés and tropes undermining lesser material. Saint Jaimz stands in a class all his own.