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St. Christopher: Golden Blue

David Fufkin

St. Christopher

Golden Blue

Label: Parasol
US Release Date: 2001-01-09
UK Release Date: 2000-12-12

Saint Christopher died a martyr in Asia Minor in the third century. The legend that grew up about him in the Middle Ages was that he was a very strong (and not very handsome) man, a "dog-faced" giant in fact, who lived by a fjord in a river. He carried travelers across this river. He became the Patron Saint of Travel, the perfect name for a band that will help you take a trip, a trip inside your mind. Like Barrett, Gabriel, Julian Cope and others, Glenn Melia lets us hop on his back for a sonic trip across the river that flows inside your imagination.

Golden Blue is a skyscraper of sounds with a driving lead guitar at its pinnacle fueling the melody, much like a surfer at Waikiki Beach racing towards the shore. Consider the cowboy-like, psychedelic "North Wind" or "Riverbank" with its claves and handclaps. "Majestic" indeed is that, with low end that challenged my speakers and shook the walls. The reverb-soaked vocals reminded me a bit of Wham!, Heroes-era Bowie and Peter Gabriel, a good thing in my book. The obvious comparison is to Echo and The Bunnymen, but I think St. Christopher is better. St. Christopher appears more about songs than posing. "The First or the Last" is a highlight with Massive Synthesizers. I can see a cocaine-crazed Keith Emerson lunging a knife into his B3, his Arp and his Moog here. Imagine the sound without the twirling stage and the laser light show.

This is '70s FM radio prog rock before it became ridiculous, crossed with '80s British psychedelia. Interesting chord patterns and songs that break out of the box are featured here. Again, Parasol has a winner.

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