She may have made her name as an occasional singer with Groove Armada, but Rebecca Jones (aka Saint Saviour) has proven pretty difficult to pigeonhole over the last few years. Her debut album Union skipped over a whole host of genres with no little skill, but In The Seams sees her settle down into a recognisable sound – a more minimal, stripped down approach than previously for sure, but one that accentuates her voice perfectly.
There’s a very delicate ‘chamber pop’ feel to In The Seams, helped in no small way by the talents of the Manchester Camerata Orchestra, and former The Coral man Bill Ryder-Jones who provides a faultless production. There’s almost a sense of rebirth, exemplified perhaps by the opening lines of the first track, Intro (Sorry) – “I’ve made considerable mistakes, tried to be someone else”. And if In The Seams is the sound of the real Rebecca Jones, then it’s a most beguiling one.
Her songwriting chops have improved as well. Let It Go (thankfully, not a cover version of the ubiquitous Disney song) is a heartbreakingly beautiful track – simply the sound of Jones’ voice against a stark piano, before the string arrangements kick in to lift the song up into another emotional stratosphere. Given the right exposure, it could easily be a big Christmas hit, giving off the sort of warmth and glow that you yearn for in the depths of winter.
The best moments on In The Seams follow a similar pattern – Nobody Died begins with a devastatingly pretty little string-soaked introduction before Jones comes in, sounding for all the world like a young Kate Bush, while I Remember sets a delicate acoustic guitar lament to Jones’ affecting falsetto vocal – the effect is nothing short of hypnotic. Some people may find the relentlessly slow pace a bit much to get used to, but its a sound that Jones sounds perfectly at home with. Besides, when the results are as perfect as a song like the gorgeous Bang is, then it seems churlish to complain.
It also means that the rare upbeat moments on In The Seams sound all the more effective – Devotion has a jerky, finger-picking guitar motif that’s impossible to sit still to, while the folksy lament of Sad Kid sounds like a lost track from Joanna Newsom‘s Milk Eyed Mender. And while the general mood is one of introspection and brooding, In The Seams is never a depressing listen.
Instead, it becomes comforting and even inspiring: the chance to restock, replenish and take a deep breath before emerging to face the world again. It may not be a commercial hit, but that’s no reflection on its quality – in an ideal world, In The Seams would make Rebecca Jones a star, but for those in the know, Saint Saviour makes for a much cherished secret.