Fans of country music should make a point of checking out the enthralling sounds of The Saint and The Sinner, the debut album from The American Revival dropping this March, if for no other reason than to finally hear what all of the buzz surrounding this new band is all about. Critics from one side of the States to the next haven’t been able to stop chattering about this LP, and having become enamored by its ten surreally vivid tracks, I can vouch that it definitely hasn’t been all talk. Featuring enduring harmonies and colorfully textured lyrics that don’t dwell in predictable country themes exclusively, this is a record from a band that really deserves your attention right now.
The songs “Texas Weather,” “Lovin’ I Gave You” and “Rise & Fall” are spiked with melodies the size of skyscrapers, but they’re balanced out by the tough as nails riffs that give “Friday Night” and “The Devil Lives in the South” their hard edge. Generally, every essential element within the music of The Saint and The Sinner is larger than life thanks to this meticulously designed master mix, and even in minimalist balladry like “Whiskey Kisses,” the heavy-handed wallop of the band’s collective tonality is never shortsighted behind the soundboard.
There’s no filler in The American Revival’s first record, and by that I mean that all of these tracks could make really fine singles in their own right. I can see why the group chose to highlight “Whiskey Kisses” and “On My Way” above the others, as they probably embody the diversity of their style in a way that would appeal immensely to radio country consumers, but they’re hardly pop-centric exhibition numbers. I get the impression that this band doesn’t produce throwaway songs; from “Remember This” to the title track, there’s just too much substance here for me to think any differently.
It’s really something that The Saint and The Sinner is as full of personable, intimate lyricism as it is relatable narratives, as the exact opposite has been true of the bulk of output that we’ve seen from this band’s closest rivals this year. You don’t have to be from The Lone Star State to appreciate the affectionate prose in “Texas Weather,” nor do you need an education in southern comfort to understand the irony in “The Devil Lives in the South” or the record’s climactic title track. This isn’t music for country aficionados exclusively; this is an album built for anyone who loves the melodicism of Americana and the reflective emotions that it tends to provoke.
At the end of the day, there’s no need to wonder what the hottest country album due out this spring is, as The American Revival undisputedly throw down the heaviest hammer of the season in The Saint and The Sinner. It’s an LP that is bursting at the seams with texture, and it offers listeners the chance to explore the sonic profile of one of country’s most intriguing young groups. There’s a lot of great music slated to be released in 2019, and this album is definitely among the cream of the crop.