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Saint Jude finds clarity on debut album Signal

"Signal"

Release date: 18 November 2022
8/10
Saint Jude - Signal cover
15 November 2022, 00:00 Written by Caitlin Chatterton
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A collation of disparate parts, Signal sees Saint Jude - real name Jude Woodhead - at the eye of a genre-melding, influence-heavy storm.

Opener “Does” invokes images of a dystopia – where caterwauling harmonies meet a resounding bass line and Woodhead’s brusque delivery. It’s followed up by the trembling percussion and delicate vocals of “Halfway”, the latter courtesy of Low Loudly. This sonic juxtaposition is characteristic of Signal: Woodhead describes the project as “a self-portrait”, but also “a reflection of the world as it changed around me.” Holding up this double-sided mirror has produced a record that’s more like a time capsule, collating stories and sounds amid a melting-pot of styles. Welcoming features from the likes of Drug Store Romeo's Sarah Downie, Halina, Louis Culture, and Trimm, Woodhead has also compiled influences from hip-hop and electronica, garage and gospel - even the lo-fi voice note that’s so in vogue. Far from sounding crowded, Signal absorbs each style with ease.

Spaced throughout the album is a trio of titular tracks, each with their own featured vocalist. While Trimm and Louis Culture ruminate on growing up, Halina’s instalment is hazier: it’s as though you’re interrupting a private moment of musing. Elsewhere, “No Angels” takes on breakbeat garage; “Late Summer” evokes the chilled vibes of sunny evenings, while the crunching percussion and heavy bass of “Rosa” spotlights its revolutionary namesake, Rosa Luxemburg. The subject choice feels a little random at first, but points to the eclectic nature of Woodhead’s project, seeking to capture the broadest landscape that he can. Zooming back in, “To Repel Ghosts” closes the record on an introspective note. Grappling with the past as well as an uncertain future, Woodhead’s intimate and observational lyrics remind you that Signal is as much about him as it is about the world - and he’s found a way to reconcile the two within his curated soundscape.

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